A Thousand Days in Venice
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A Thousand Days in Venice (Italian Memoirs)

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  3,354 ratings  ·  497 reviews
He saw her across the Piazza San Marco and fell in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it is fate. He knows little English; and she, a divorced American chef, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thinks she is incapable of intimacy, that her heart has lost its capacity for romantic love. But within months of their first meeting...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published 2002)
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Oh brother.
A friend gave me this book before my last trip to Italy. She likes this sort of book, dripping with overly dramatic and very unrealistic romanticism. Complete with Dianphanous gowns and melodramatic gestures.
If I hadn't found it funny, I would have never finished it.
The story is yet another one of a woman who has undergone "dramatic changes" in her life and runs to Italy to find herself. Are you still awake? Sorry I dozed off for a moment there.
In Venice she meets a lonely Italian b...more
Sep 25, 2010 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
As I have said before there is just something about travel books that draws me in. Ever since I read A Year in Provence I was hooked on the genre. A couple of months ago I read A Thousand Days in Tuscany. Not far into the book I realized that Venice came before Tuscany and I had missed how our lovely couple met and moved to Tuscany. I'm a stickler for reading series in the correct order so I was disturbed that I was going to have to go backward and the story would be ruined. The way de Blasi wri...more
This book had a few enjoyable moments, but unfortunately, the dull moments lasted longer. In a nutshell, the book is about a middle-aged Midwestern woman who travels to Venice, meets an Italian man who she spends a couple of days with, then he goes to visit her in St. Louis for two weeks, then she gives up her entire life to move to Venice to marry him. There have been a couple of sequels, so I know this couple are still together, but I don't think I'll bother reading any other books by this aut...more
The author tells her tale of meeting her husband and moving to Venice. It's a fairytale that romances the process of adapting to a new country. Marlena meets Fernando hours before her flight is scheduled to depart. He follows her back to the US. The only point really shared about his visit to St Louis is that she get the flu while he's there. She decides to sell her newly refurbished home and marry him in Italy. The reader is not given any details on the connection between the two. Frankly, Fern...more
Book Concierge
In November 1993 the author arrived in Venice with two friends in tow. As they lunched at a small local place, she noticed a table of four men seated nearby. After all the other patrons had left and she and her friends were alone in the restaurant, the waiter approached and said there was a telephone call for her. “Not possible,” she answered. They had only just arrived that morning and had not yet notified their friends where they were, surely they hadn’t told anyone where they were going for l...more
Melissa Conner
The sun is beginning her descent. The last few rays of sunshine illuminate my living room as I curl up tighter under my blanket. In the last remains of the day, my red wine shines purple hues onto my plate of grilled salmon and rosemary seasoned potatoes. I feel my room soak up the evening as I turn to the final chapter of A Thousand Days in Venice.

This is a book for romantics, for those who believe in love. In the words of the Chicago Tribune, it is “a true, disarming, and unexpectedly endearin...more
Liane Spicer
Italy fascinates me and this book was highly recommended so I just had to buy it. I was not disappointed. De Blasi's approach to living parallels mine, which is: never be afraid to start again; never stop believing in the power of love; let your life be an adventure; never stop learning and growing; go with your heart even if all the voices say you're crazy to step away from the safe, tried and true...

As a prolific reader and a writer, I found her writing style exquisite. Her imagery does justi...more
This book did not completely achieve its potential. The author, a middle-aged woman from the Mid-West meets an Italian while she is in Venice-who is not without his eccentricities. He visits her in St. Louis and she decides to marry him and move to Venice. The story describes their relationship, her discovery of Venice and Italian culture and her re-doing of his home. The story is enjoyable and you want their relationship to work-however I thought the story line could have been better developed.
About 50 pages into this book, it started to feel very familiar and I realized that I have read at least the beginning of it once before, but for the life of me I cannot remember when.

I must say, as romantic as I believe myself to be, I found it very hard to believe that this smart, successful, and creative woman would sell her house and leave everything she knew in the USA behind to move sight unseen into the rather sordid, well okay, somewhat deteriorated flat of this rather unremarkable Venet...more
Loved, loved, loved this book. But not while on a diet.
To continue my travel memoir kick. . . this was a pleasing memoir with a lovely literary style of writing and wonderful descriptions of food and cooking. Good for foodies. The author is an American chef and writer who while staying in Venice meets a "blueberry eyed" Venetian man who looks like Peter Sellers and who falls in love with her at first sight. She falls in love with him too, and moves to live in Venice with him, in a decidedly unromantic apartment that she redecorates & then they r...more
What an odd combination of feelings and thoughts I had reading this book. First of all, nostalgia, both for Venice (you'd have to be dead or totally unromantic to not be wistful about Venice) and St Louis, where I used to live. When Marlena talks about Balabans, I heaved a sign, remembering all the great times and meals I had at the restaurant with friends and loved ones. When she mentioned Forest Park, I escaped back to the multitude of memories I have of that wonderful place, that was just mer...more
Ed Howe
This is a great book. Nothing as I thought it would be. Picked this up in a used bookstore. Pleasantly surprised. It is so very rich in identifying the culture of the Italian life and rich history of friends, family and relationships and how it is intertwined with the food and traditions of Tuscan living. I've been to Tuscany but what can you gleen in 10 days. Marlena De Blasi builds a fabulous story of truth and tribal knowledge steeped deeply in what we are only beginning to realize here in Am...more
Angela Duea
There were a couple of things I really liked about this book. I loved the main character's spirit of adventure and how she seemed so at home in the world and adaptable. I also love how, at the verge of leaving her old life and moving to a new country, she decides to leave behind all her old sad life stories and just keep the good.

That said, I was alarmed at her quick courtship and attachment to the man she calls "the stranger" during most of the book. I felt sure that some young girl is going to...more
Susan Johnson
I think I have discovered that memoirs must not be my cup of tea. The authors are just so full of themselves. I guess they'd have to be or they wouldn't be writing about themselves. This author is incredibly full of herself. She lost me when she moved into apartment in Venice and covered her dining room table with damask tied at the bottom to the legs. She said something like she's all about the textiles. Really? Is that the most important thing in your life? Textiles?

The author meets her future...more
I was hesitant whether this would be good or not (to me, a memoir is only good if the author has an interesting story to tell, or if they can tell that story in an interesting manner) -- but three things intrigued me: 1) It's about love and chance encounters 2) It's about travel 3) Specifically, it's about Venice, Italy.

Overall, I wasn't disappointed. Turns out, the author did have an interesting story to tell, and she told it in a mostly interesting manner. I found some of it to be pretty unbel...more
So I have this experiment that I'm trying, call it book monogamy. For the past week, I've tried reading one book at a time. Granted, I'm not sure how long this can last, but I fear that as I go along with this, some books may fall by the wayside because in this dedication of time, I must feel a sweltering invigoration from the book I am reading--okay maybe at least something close. I hope that this experiment doesn't find me meandering through books, looking for something I didn't lose in the fi...more
I'm getting myself into trouble here, reading yet another book about Italy. My appetite for this country seems to be insatiable :)

How do I describe this book? The words are meant to be tasted, not merely read. The story is so beautiful, the language so full of the romantic. The descriptions of the food are enough alone to make one full. Fernando sees a woman across the piazza, falls in love with her, pursues her. She slowly falls in love with him in her middle age, ties up her life in St. Louis,...more
I've had this book for a long time (probably bought it in 2001 or so) and re-read it a few days ago. I like it despite its over-the-top flowery style. The author is a gourmet cook, and she seems to write like she probably cooks: lots of fancy ingredients, exotic details and flair. It's almost hard to believe that she's telling a true story since she waxes on so poetically about it all. But I still like it. It's great escapist fare for the part of me who would love to fall in love with a romantic...more
I throughly enjoyed this book. It started a bit like a romance novel but Marlena de Blasi writes very inteligently and page after page I discovered something more than that. It`s a really beautiful story about love in a mature age. I loved the light-hearted way of telling it. I was impressed by what she said about the tower of pain-how we accumulate pain and keep it within ourselves to show off. That was exactly the thing she managed to avoid in her story.It sounded fresh and light,as a real new...more
You'd be forgiven for thinking this book is set in the early 1900's its hard to belive a modern woman could really have behaved so recklessly. Unbelievably this book it a true account of Marlena life from meeting her lover annoyingly called the stranger throughout and deals with her move to be with him in Venice. As a chef there are details of meals eaten and each chapter has the recipe at the end. If you are expecting sensual perhaps even sexual foody narrative you wont find it here, infact the...more
This book seemed well written, intelligent and great descriptions, but there was very little heart. The only passion was about food. There were recipes thrown into the story, a bit reminiscent of Like Water For Chocolate (which I loved).

It was a strue story, written entirely in first person. An unexpected romance, it says on the cover. For being a love story, it was written with a great and glaring obvious lack of emotion.

Being a true story, I have a hard time with my criticism. I can't say th...more
Hmmmm where to begin with the review��_

I read the cover jacket and I had to read this novel, after all who doesn���t want to hear the details of a genuine love story with the setting being Venice Italy ��� unless you lack a pulse you will want to know the details of the romance the jacket noted. Sadly, the book was more a travel/food writing than it was a love story. Don���t get me wrong Ms. de Blasi did a wonderful job painting the picturesque city of Venice and its people and culture, Ms. de B...more
Sarah Sammis
Good book. Thank you for letting me borrow the book! I have wanted to read it since I heard a Radio 4 radio play based on the book. If I didn't know a couple who had a similar experience (except that the locations involved were France and California) I would probably be more dismissive of her whirlwind relationship with "Peter Sellers." But instead I found myself comparing the ins and outs of their relationship to those details of my parents' friends and nodding knowingly when things matched up....more
I love reading about places I've been and Venice is one of them. For Marlena to have the experience of living among Italians as an American certainly gives one a totally different perspective. I enjoyed her recipes and found my mouth watering as she prepared each tasty bite. I found it difficult to imagine giving up the comforts of home to move to a new home that was so totally different. I'm not sure that I could have made the same adjustment that Marlena did. Guess that's amore!
Aug 26, 2014 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Edited to add: I just reread the snippet... I didn't realize it was a true story based on the author's life when I wrote the review below. Since it is based on real life, the lack of "plot" does make more sense. Oops!

This is one of those books that's written so beautifully and with such stunning imagery that you almost forget that the plot was rather uninspired.

The descriptions of Venice make me want to take an extended vacation and fall in love with Venice myself. The descriptions of the food...more
This book is hard to categorize. It's a mix of memoir, cookbook and travelogue. She starts out with a romantic story of meeting the man who would become her next husband. An Italian man approaches her in Venice and becomes quite passionate in his pursuit of her. More than just a casual pick-up, he convinces her that he had fallen in love with her long ago on one of her previous trips to the city. The main section of the book tells the story of their ensuing romance and marriage. As she settles w...more
Enough with the blueberry-eyed stranger. Does he have a name or did the author forget it in her haste to marry this man.
I was not familiar enough with Venice to understand all of the things she referred to.
Also, I consider myself a decent cook and her recipes were beyond my skill level.
Lenny Husen
Rating: 3 and a half stars
Rounding up to 4 rather than down because I liked the author so much. Although self-absorbed, she does not come across as a Narcissist. Although self-promoting, she doesn't self-aggrandize. She seems like a lovely person and I enjoyed the way she wrote: no humor whatsoever but full of descriptions that made me understand her and "feel" the city of Venice.
I am rounding up because she is an author that I would read again. We are preparing for a trip and one of our stops...more
Tried to get into this book and just couldn't do it. Finally gave up since I couldn't see wasting my time after all you can't get time back so why spend it on a less than worthwhile book. I had high hopes for this so it's very disappointing.
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“Living as a couple never means that each gets half. You must take turns at giving more than getting. It’s not the same as a bow to the other whether to dine out rather than in, or which one gets massaged that evening with oil of calendula; there are seasons in the life of a couple that function, I think, a little like a night watch. One stands guard, often for a long time, providing the serenity in which the other can work at something. Usually that something is sinewy and full of spines. One goes inside the dark place while the other one stays outside, holding up the moon.” 34 likes
“Much of my crying is for joy and wonder rather than for pain. A trumpet's wailing, a wind's warm breath, the chink of a bell on an errant lamb, the smoke from a candle just spent, first light, twilight, firelight. Everyday beauty. I cry for how life intoxicates. And maybe just a little for how swiftly it runs.” 20 likes
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