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A Thousand Days in Venice

(Italian Memoirs)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  5,940 ratings  ·  741 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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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  5,940 ratings  ·  741 reviews

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Sep 13, 2012 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
I'm feeling generous with 4 Stars. To be fair, I would give it 3.5. This is a beautifully written narrative of life in Venice. It’s a tiny bit flowery with the romance, at least for me, but it still remains sweet. The food descriptions are incredible. The author is a chef and has included recipes. I always enjoy books that weave recipes into the stories. I assume that others in the series will have recipes also. The author is a chef and she not only loves food, but simply loves life.

Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, memoir
"Venice is all our fantasies. Water, light, color, perfume, escape, disguise, license are gold spun and stitched into the skirts she trails across her stones by day and spreads over her lagoon in the never-quite-blackness of her nights."

A short book of love, travel, food, and chance encounters.

de Blasi has traveled to Venice many times, and on one of her trips, the day she is scheduled to leave, she meets Fernando, a Venetian who correctly identifies her as a woman he saw during her previous tri
Sep 13, 2009 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
May 08, 2007 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
Jun 11, 2013 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
Nov 14, 2011 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
Book Concierge
Jul 12, 2012 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 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
Camille Maio
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely read that brings to live the dream many of us have - traveling to Italy and marrying a local! I enjoyed experiencing her journey and look forward to reading her subsequent books.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Susan Johnson
Oct 27, 2013 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
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Having just finished That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story, I have to add another by this author. This is the first of a trilogy about her marriage with Venetian. I chose this over Amandine: A Novel b/c I believe when authors stick to what lies close to their heart, that is when they write best! But Amandine looks interesting too, so I am a bit undecisive..... I am wondering of this is a typical love story or forigner getting use to a new culture book. You know like the Peter Mayle books. And is t ...more
Jan 29, 2009 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.
Angela Duea
May 02, 2013 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
Michael Rumney
The account of the Romance between Fernando (AKA the stranger) and the author is quite an odd book. For the first 49 pages nothing much happens, after that a bit more happens and the writing style improves but overall it is still boring.
Not very long at 240 pages there is no inciting incident, there are no obstacles for the couple to overcome.
There's is nothing exciting about Fernando as he works in a dull bank. The Author you'd think would tell the reader what she sees in her husband. What attr
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this book a lot, although about halfway through it started to feel a little old. What I liked about it was her honesty, and the beautiful glimpse of the life (and challenges!) taking a big risk such as moving to a foreign country and marrying a man of a different culture. But after awhile, the story became a little stale; it became repetitive. I wish she had gone a little deeper into her insights about her new life, but I felt like she became a little repetitive about it; I felt she coul ...more
Jan 20, 2008 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
Sarah Sammis
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: released, pc, read-in-2005
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.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
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
Dec 24, 2008 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.
Jul 06, 2009 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.
Callie Hornbuckle
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
An autobiographical romance set in Venice - what’s not to like? The author is quite over the top in her language and did sometimes annoy me with her pretentiousness. But she loves food and writes so wonderfully about it that I totally forgive her.
Jul 05, 2015 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)
Mar 15, 2016 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, italy, food
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.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book. But not while on a diet.
J.H. Moncrieff
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best travel memoirs I've ever read. Beautiful, inspiring--a love letter to Venice and to love itself.

de Blasi's story is fascinating. A successful food/travel writer and chef, she is still willing to put it all on the line when a stranger approaches her in Venice and tells her he fell in love with her a year ago and in his heart has been looking for her ever since. That de Blasi--divorced and middle-aged, is STILL able to follow her heart and instincts, is an amazing thing. Sometimes
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
From another reader :
" This book had enjoyable moments, but the dull moments lasted longer. "
I read her out of sequence , and it worked for me .
I loved that Summer in Sicily , but this one began to bore me midway .
This book lost my attention , and regained it over and over with a bit of romantic intrigue or historical musing or a delicious meal detail.
Would like to give it 4 stars , but her blathering on in this one won't allow it .
Is it her character I tired of listening to at points ?
From a ga
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Other books in the series

Italian Memoirs (4 books)
  • A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure
  • The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria
  • That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story

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