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

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  4,729 ratings  ·  249 reviews
They had met and married on perilously short acquaintance, she an American chef and food writer, he a Venetian banker. Now they were taking another audacious leap, unstitching their ties with exquisite Venice to live in a roughly renovated stable in Tuscany.

Once again, it was love at first sight. Love for the timeless countryside and the ancient village of San Casciano dei
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Kindle Edition, 325 pages
Published June 2013 by Algonquin Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Mary
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
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
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
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Ikebukuro
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
Janet
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
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Lori
Jul 24, 2009 Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Alissa
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.
Patrice Sartor
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.
Linda C.
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
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Carol
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
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Kim
Although it took longer than usual considering this is such a short book, I finally finished A Thousand Day in Tuscany. It is a book that definitely fed my desire to live in Tuscany - yoga, cooking school (mostly for the eating), sitting and soaking in, what I choose to perceive, a much slower pace of living. The book is about just that, a culinary adventure waxing eloquently about each savoury and sweet aspect of each dish cooked as it was in the past - open fires covered in ashes, communal ove ...more
Lana
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
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.
Michele
I normally enjoy books about picking up and moving to another country, especially if that country is France or Italy. However, I found this sequel to "A Thousand Days in Venice" a bit boring. This book picks up where that one let off. Marlena, an American chef, married Fernando, a Venician banker, and moved to Venice. In this book, they have moved to Tuscany to start again and, hopefully, begin a new travel/culinary business.

There were descriptions of Tuscany but not as much as I would have like
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Leanna
I always love a woman that pulls up roots and does something totally different in her life. This author has a way of poetically describing everything she sees. I felt like I was living in Italy and embracing a slow pace of life. Loved the food descriptions which were plenty. Foraging for food holds a special interest for me and she definitely did her share - truffles, lettuces, dandelion - she harvested chestnuts and picked grapes. I could feel the accomplishment and the tired she felt from that ...more
Linda
A Thousand Days In Tuscany - Purchased
My review. I would have liked to have given the book a Four Star rating. However, in considering the overall, there were segments that I really liked and a few spots that I found myself a bit bored. The themes were very good - Love, Friendship, Good Food and Community. As I am quite fond of "communal meals" (as well as eating alone), this was a highlight for me. Taking food prep back to early times was an interesting read.

The overall read led me to think t
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Carol Harrison
It's rare for me to give up on a book, and there's really nothing wrong with this book, except that I just couldn't get into it. By halfway through I was still not very interested in the narrator, her partner, or any of their quaint Tuscan neighbours. Maybe it felt a bit condescending toward these people, whose customs were different not only from the American-born author but also her city-bred Venetian partner. There were also the liberal additions of phrases and sentences in Italian (why?)tran ...more
Dale
Aug 17, 2009 Dale rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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!
Sue
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.
Carolyn
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
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
Lisa Brintlinger
Loved it! I loved Frances Mayes' book and was on my way to Italy, saw this "series" about an American "grown"woman who married a Venetian ex-banker and they head to Tuscany. She really introduces you to the neighbors, the true Tuscans, who have huge personalities. The couple, because they live where they live, delve into the seasonal offerings and she offers the recipes to us. What a picture into this countryside! I read it in Rome, a day away from a train ride to Florence which flies by the Tus ...more
Lin
I am finding it really hard to get into this book. I'll keep trying.
Teresa
Terrible book. Made it half way and quit.
Angel Stafford
I could not finish this one.
Melissa
This is a book about food. Really. Ok, well maybe it's a book about Italian culture too. But there's a lot of food in it.

Three years after marrying her husband in Venice, Marlena is apprehensive when they sell everything and move to Tuscany. Here they have no job, are renting a house, but they quickly become adapted to village life and make a few friends. One of these is a man who used to live in their house long ago and is a great source of help on projects from making a bread oven to harvestin
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Ken
A Thousand Days in Tuscany is the second part of the trilogy of books tracing De Blasi's new life in Italy. Where the first book left of with her and her new husband's resolution to leave the city of Venice for a simpler country life, this book begins with the move from Venice.

In their new home, they meet two residents who become the other major characters in the memoir: Barlozzo and Flori, two long-time residents of their city who, throughout the year chronicled in the book, help De Blasi and h
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Bess
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
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  • Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Côte d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella

Other Books in the Series

Italian Memoirs (4 books)
  • A Thousand Days in Venice
  • The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria
  • That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story
A Thousand Days in Venice The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story Amandine Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany

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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.” 9 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.” 7 likes
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