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A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure (Italian Memoirs)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  5,471 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, married rather late in life. In search of the rhythms of country living, the couple moves to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany with no phone, no central heating, and something resembling a playhouse kitchen. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In ...more
ebook, 325 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Algonquin Books (first published 2004)
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Mary
Feb 25, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for many reasons. I wasn't inspired by the dishes she sensually described or the recipes she shared. I was inspired by how food united the people in the story. Through food they had culture, effervescence, togetherness and a bond. Through discovering/gathering food, breaking bread Marlena and Fernando were able to turn a grumpy old man into a loving, passionate friend and a dotting lover. Barlozzo took them on these adventures to these picking festivals in the fields, but he di ...more
Poiema
Smack dab in the midst of normal and predictable routine, a gypsy thought will sometimes flit through my mind. What would it be like to pull up stakes, travel to an idyllic vacation spot, and live a carefree life? That is exactly what Marlena De Blasi did. She is a kind of modern day gypsy, an American who traveled to Italy to do research for her cook book and ended up in Venice, fell madly in love and married, then moved to Tuscany to taste and touch and feel its earthy pleasures. This book is ...more
Ikebukuro
Jul 11, 2013 Ikebukuro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un livre qui m'a rappelé l'atmosphère du roman "Sous le soleil de Toscane" de Frances Mayes tout en étant complètement différent. C'est une histoire pleine de charme qui invite à une certaine nonchalance dans ce village où il fait bon vivre et qui donne au lecteur des envies de sieste sous les figuiers, de tomates au basilic, d'huile d'olives et de pain frais. C'est un livre qui incite à la rêverie et à la paresse. On va suivre au fil des pages, Marlena et son mari ancien employé de banque qui d ...more
Tay Mueller
I really wanted to like this book. There were some passages that I loved. But ultimately, I was let down because the book cannot decide what it wants to be.

Her choice of language occasionally left me puzzled, and pulled me away from the story, wondering if she cared more about her flowery language than telling her story.

The number of days began to bother me as I read, wondering why there was a limit when they were talking about putting down roots and staying - was there some disaster waiting ar
...more
Asya Karaivanova
Приятна изненада се оказа тази книга, попаднала случайно при мен. Видът и анотациите отзад предполагат да се чете поредната лигава боза, пълна с лИбоФ. Но ако има любов в тази книга, то това е любовта към храната, виното и тосканското слънце, към простичкия живот, пълен с хармония. Книгата не е за хора на диета, детайлните описания на хранителните навици и ритуали, както и подробните рецепти вътре изкушават всеки човек да пожелае не само да опита тази храна, но да го направи точно там, в Тоскана ...more
Alissa
Mar 06, 2008 Alissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, she is REALLY getting on my nerves this time around. I just read where she made a dress from drapes. Drapes, people!

I also just read where one Italian man--known as the "duke"--asks her why her food is salty and sweet, and she says--dramatic pause--"Because life tastes like that."

BARF.
Janet
Jul 05, 2009 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't expect this to be a literary sensation but I thought that this tale achieved what it set out to acheive.

At first the author's griping at having to relocate from Venice to Tuscany to fulfil her husband's desire to escape his Venice banking life grated somewhat. Doesn't she know how lucky she is? However, her growing sense love for the new part of Italy soon began to shine through as she throws herself into the life of the community. The author has journalism and food criticism background, s
...more
Lori
Jul 24, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Just about everyone
This was just about the perfect book for me. I enjoyed this more than her first book, A Thousand Days in Venice which was good. This combined one of my favorite regions in the world with a wonderful exploration of the food and culture of that region. I felt the heat of the sun while she harvested grapes and I could smell the rosemary she loved to add to her cooking fire. I don't know if this book was so perfect for me because I was reading it in from an ideal place (on a deserted beach on a Cari ...more
Sue
Sep 07, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If anything, this is more beautiful than its predecessor, A Thousand Days in Venice. De Blasi captures life in a small town in Italy and the people who inhabit it with prose that makes you weep and laugh as much as her descriptions of the food make you salivate.
Patrice Sartor
Sep 08, 2011 Patrice Sartor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Patrice by: Kathy S.
I got to page 34 before giving up, and it wasn't a quick and easy time to get even those few pages done. While the description of the food was fine, I simply did not care for De Blasi's writing style. It felt overly slow and dull to me.
Carol
Aug 17, 2009 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This non-fiction account of Marlena De Blasi's life adventure in Italy is a continuation of her love story that began in A Thousand Days In Venice. I am enjoying her adventures and will also read the next installment of her story but found this book not as cohesive as the first. She is a good writer and her food descriptions make you want to go to the kitchen and snack but I feel the breakdown of the story was more of an editor problem than a writer problem. She continues to express her love for ...more
LindyLouMac
In search of a new life Fernando cuts all his ties with his birthplace Venice and takes his wife Marlena to live in Tuscany. She is not keen to leave the Venice she loves but understands her husbands desire to leave the demons that trouble him behind. Will this new beginning work for them or will his melancholy follow them.
They settle in the small village of San Casciano dei Bagni near the borders of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio meet. Life is still ruled here as it has been for centuries by the sea
...more
Linda C.
Jul 19, 2010 Linda C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Thousand Days in Tuscany was a very tough book to read. Now I want to go to Tuscany, rent a villa and live among the locals. I'm under employed therefore my ability to travel to wonderful and interesting places is out of the question. The stories of cooking and baking and gathering chestnuts and olives from the field made me hungry. My mouth drooled while reading the author's descriptions of each meal. I'm on a diet. It was torture.

And then there's the whole wine thing. All her wondrous cooki
...more
Cheyenne
Apr 04, 2016 Cheyenne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. Hard book to rate. I love much of the descriptive verses of food and scenery. I love her images of Venice... but, I just could not accept the entire concept of her relationship or his personality as described. She talks about this wonderful connection they have and then goes on to talk about how controlling he is and so very strange. This is supposed to be a story of how she actually fell in love and moved to Italy giving up all she knew. It just doesn't ring true or accurate i ...more
Cynthia Neale
Sep 17, 2015 Cynthia Neale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another sensuous culinary journey into Italy, this time Tuscany, with the author and her Italian husband. De Blasi weaves a story of herself and the people she meets, along with historical facts and the beauty of the countryside. And as you journey, there are sumptuous reprieves to learn about harvesting grapes, to sip wine, to gather chestnuts, and eat hearty homemade bread drizzled with just-pressed olive oil. Until you can travel to Italy yourself, reading Marlena de Blasi's books are the nex ...more
Lana
Apr 12, 2009 Lana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quote from the book: "Hell is when nothing is cooking and no one is waiting." This book is all about food and cooking--oh, and there is a sweet story of relationships and finding joy in the moment. My problem was that the life in which she found joy (cooking constantly) sounded so unappealing to me, although I'd love to visit and let her cook for me for a week while I hiked around the countryside. I did enjoy the story behind the food, but there were too many pages all about the food.
Elane
Aug 08, 2008 Elane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed reading about the building of their outdoor stone oven, the scene during the annual olive press and the making of the bruschetta, and one of the stories told by one of the village people about when times were scarce and a mom had to give her hungry son one small piece of bread and stretched it out with her imagination by pretending it was a sandwich made with his favorite cheese. the recipes sounded good too...might try out the chestnut cookies.
Dale
Aug 17, 2009 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to all my family
Recommended to Dale by: I found this on a library shelf
I guess I like to read books I can relate to with regards to my ancestry, my experience of life on this earth. Italy calls to me since my maternal grandparents were born there. This book had me speaking Italian and eating pasta and drinking wine. I now carry a picnic basket in my trunk in case the opportunity should arrise.

Loved this book!
Carolyn
Aug 23, 2007 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was highly recommended to me as preparation for an upcoming trip to Tuscany. Beautiful descriptions of a rustic life through four seasons, each with mouth-watering, belly-warming recipes. Also a nice way to pick up a few Italian phrases.
Tammy
Feb 24, 2009 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow so loved this book - It makes you wan to be there, eating there, living there, I was so engrossed in this book - She lives life - embraces it- Great memoir of her time in Tuscany
Beth
Jul 02, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply cannot get enough of this woman's stuff................
Angel Stafford
Nov 11, 2013 Angel Stafford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not finish this one.
Teresa
Jan 19, 2009 Teresa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible book. Made it half way and quit.
Lin
Oct 21, 2009 Lin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am finding it really hard to get into this book. I'll keep trying.
Céline Cachaud
This novel gives us the story of a culinary critic as she leaves Venice (from the first novel A Thousand Days in Venice) to settle down in a little Tuscanian town. Mouthwatering with recipes for those willing to cook themselves some tipical italian dishes. The story becomes drearier by the end and you just keep reading because of all the descriptions of Italian landscapes, customs and food.
Debra
Nov 15, 2016 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-reads
I am a sucker for the continuation of De Blasi’s story. (See A Thousand Days in Venice in my Foodie Read list).
Barbara
love her writing. ridiculously romantic and expressive just like her personality and her life apparently.
Kris
Oct 10, 2016 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Гастрономическата тематика, разточително описана на фона на пейзажите на Италия или Южна Франция, винаги ми е допадала (явно не само на мене, иначе нямаше да ги има толкова хиляди и безброй). Но все пак като че ли след 10-20 подобни книги вече не ми стига само описания на дебелите резени селски хляб с хрупкава коричка, аромата на трюфели, подчертаващ вкусовете на пухкавия омлет от домашни яйца с пресни подправки от градината, разнообразните месни деликатеси, шпиковани и задушавани във вино и раз ...more
Lee Riggs
Interesting characters and insights on life and traditions in contemporary rural Tuscany, but it all seemed a little too good to be true, in the same way as similar books (which the author criticized). And the time line for characters affected by World War II didn't seem to mesh with when the action took place and book was published (as a memoir). I might read the earlier book, set in Venice, again just for the insights into Italy, not so much for the author and her story.
Bess
Apr 17, 2010 Bess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my blog:
A Thousand Days in Venice is the first in Marlena de Blasi's series of travel books about her time in Italy. I found it on her agent's website when I was researching that particular agent and her tastes, and it caught my eye. I sensed that I wasn't quite the target audience—it's a story of a middle-aged woman finding love late in life, both with a person and a place— but I was still intrigued by its love story and, well, Italy.

But I was right. In fact, this seems to be a reoccurring
...more
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Italian Memoirs (4 books)
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“Maybe the only thing that matters is to make our lives last as long as we do. You know, to make a life last until it ends, to make all the parts come out even, like when you rub the last piece of bread in the last drop of oil on your plate and eat it with the last sip of wine in your glass.” 10 likes
“They all know the truth, that there are only three subjects worth talking about. At least here in these parts," he says, "The weather, which, as they're farmers, affects everything else. Dying and birthing, of both people and animals. And what we eat - this last item comprising what we ate the day before and what we're planning to eat tomorrow. And all three of these major subjects encompass, in one way or another, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, the physical sciences, history, art, literature, and religion. We get around to sparring about all that counts in life but we usually do it while we're talking about food, it being a subject inseparable from every other subject. It's the table and the bed that count in life. And everything else we do, we do so we can get back to the table, back to the bed.” 8 likes
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