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A Thousand Days in Venice (Italian Memoirs)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  4,968 Ratings  ·  639 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Maggiemars
Sep 13, 2012 Maggiemars rated it did not like it
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
Andrea
Sep 13, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
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
Melissa Conner
Dec 21, 2011 Melissa Conner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Book Concierge
Jul 12, 2012 Book Concierge rated it it was amazing
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
Ed Howe
Nov 21, 2010 Ed Howe rated it really liked it
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
Mel
Jun 11, 2013 Mel rated it it was ok
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
Catherine
May 08, 2007 Catherine rated it it was ok
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
Susan Johnson
Oct 27, 2013 Susan Johnson rated it it was ok
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
Liane Spicer
Apr 17, 2009 Liane Spicer rated it really liked it
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
Beth
Nov 14, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
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
Cheryl
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
Angela Duea
May 02, 2013 Angela Duea rated it it was ok
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
Bookmaniac70
Jan 20, 2008 Bookmaniac70 rated it liked it
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
Maltaise
Jan 29, 2009 Maltaise rated it liked it
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.
Elise
Nov 28, 2015 Elise rated it liked it
I have a fondness for the travel category 'What's it like to live in a foreign land?'. The genre feeds my yet unfulfilled longing to live elsewhere.
The author, on rather limited info, decides to move to Venice and marry Fernando , a melancholy Italian banker. For much of the book she calls him 'the stranger' as they learn to live and love together.
Like Under a Tuscan Sun, she struggles with Italian bureauocracy and work ethics while embracing the beauty and culture.
The memoir may be a bit fl
...more
Margaret
Jul 06, 2009 Margaret rated it did not like it
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.
Mary
Dec 24, 2008 Mary rated it did not like it
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.
Trisha
Mar 15, 2016 Trisha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The writing style and make-believe tone of the story bored me. I couldn't take it seriously. The MC was confusing and I didn't like her.
Seamus Geraghty
Feb 14, 2017 Seamus Geraghty rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I feel like I'm in love with a city that I've never even seen, and I've married a stranger who I will never know. Beautifully written.
Sharni
Jul 05, 2015 Sharni rated it really liked it
this book makes me want to visit Venice 10000x more than i already did, even though ya know - tourism is currently destroying the Venetian culture (im such a ray of sunshine)
Jody
Aug 26, 2008 Jody rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book. But not while on a diet.
Amy
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
Italo Italophiles
Nov 14, 2014 Italo Italophiles rated it it was amazing
The subtitle of this book is An Unexpected Romance. In this memoirs-autobiography-travelogue the author twists about her real-life experiences in a time-tripping, flowery-written account, to create the semblance of a fictional Venetian romance novel. We get history, Italian culture, the problems of the immigrant, and lots of late-romance angst.

While reading A Thousand Days in Venice I found myself thinking about the humorist Mark Twain's observation that "Truth is stranger than fiction because f
...more
Elizabeth
I didn't realize the author of this book was writing about herself until I got to the very end and then looked at the author's name. I actually wasn't even sure of the female character's name until I finished the book and then reread the back.

If that gives any indication about what I thought about the book and how I enjoyed it, it wouldn't be wrong.

Now knowing that De Blasi was writing about herself, my opinion of the book might change a little, because i kept thinking "Who would write this abs
...more
Silvio111
Aug 13, 2014 Silvio111 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Annmarie
Jul 11, 2010 Annmarie rated it really liked it
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
Cindy
Apr 20, 2015 Cindy rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but I really did have to force myself to continue reading it. While I realize this is the fairytale version of the author's own experience, I found the whole relationship to be unrealistic. Most of us would not dream of giving up everything to run off with a stranger, more less at a later stage in life.

I kept waiting for more to happen or something to really explain why she was so prone to this "adventure" but never did understand what was so rushed about the whole r
...more
Leah
Apr 07, 2009 Leah rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy
Nov 09, 2013 Nancy rated it it was ok
Not going to lie I was very excited to read this . Love storey? In Italy? Yes please !!! But, I could hardly finish this book . Lonely man sees successful women . Successful women gives up everything to move to Italy only to find she has lost herself . She struggles to find her place in her new life while giving up the things that make her happy because the love of her life is obstinate and moody and inconsiderate . I'm sorry but this did not seem like a love storey . It felt like I was bearing ...more
Bernadette Robinson
5/10 from me. This is not a book that I would have picked up voluntarily. It was a recent read for my local Library reading group and wasn't met with that much enthusiasm from any of us.

I was looking forward to it in some ways as Venice is a place I'd like to visit at some point in the future. I enjoyed the location that the book was set in and thought that the Author of this non fiction book captured that quite well. What I wasn't too keen on was the way the Author portrayed part of the book as
...more
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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.” 45 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.” 23 likes
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