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A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure

(Italian Memoirs)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  6,497 ratings  ·  350 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
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published November 1st 2004)
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Nancy Mastro You do not necessarily need to read them in order. However, you probably will want to read A Thousand Days in Venice first, as this sets the foundatio…moreYou do not necessarily need to read them in order. However, you probably will want to read A Thousand Days in Venice first, as this sets the foundation for A Thousand Days in Tuscany and The Lady in the Palazzo. That summer in Sicily and Antonia and Her Daughters could be read as stand alone stories, but they are better if you have read her other books first. They all are amazing reads!(less)

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Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually love reading about travel and food and I started out enjoying the descriptions of Tuscany, but then I got bored since there wasn’t much of a story. It was just a bit slow and boring for me. I also had a difficult time trying to understand some of the characters. In all fairness, the story did pick up a bit near the end.
I’m happy that I’ve learned how to properly pronounce bruschetta!
I’m not sure as to whether I will read more in this series. I think that I like the idea of her books m
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
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."

Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just returned from a wonderful week in Tuscany and I didn't want the memories to fade yet, as all vacation do. I remembered that I had this book sitting on my TBR stack since it was first published in 2004. I thought this is a perfect book to keep me in Tuscany for a bit longer. What a treat! I loved how the author included recipes at the end of each chapter. This was the right time to read this book. Lesson learned, sometimes there is a reason books sit on my bookshelf so long, they are waiti ...more
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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).
May 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Cerys Hadwin-Owen
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I LOVE anything Italian, especially 'Under the Tuscan Sun' type books, but this was beyond dry. Everyone loves an 'escape to the Tuscan hills' type story, but there was so little substance here, and it centred entirely around food and cliched repeated descriptions of bubbling pots and juicy tomatoes and glistening olive oil - and nothing else. I read this in Italy, and was really in the mood for some proper escapism, but I can only read about so many freshly harvested Tuscan feasts on repeat. I ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have read all of De Blasi's books. Loved them all. Not this one. It is one of her earlier books,maybe that is why. THAT SUMMER IN SICILY is my favorite tho. Her books are slow to get into but quite enjoyable.This particular book,Tuscany was slow thru the entire book. If you want a good book, Try the Sicily book, also slow to build but a lovely read and perfect for summer also.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Terrible book. Made it half way and quit.
Jun 17, 2009 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.
Angel Stafford
Aug 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
I could not finish this one.
Callie Hornbuckle
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this memoir about an ex-pat living in Italy more than its predecessor: A Thousand Days in Venice. The author’s flowery, almost over the top language felt almost corny in Venice, which was primarily a love story. In this book she deals with friendships and loss, and her word usage is better suited. And, as before, her food descriptions are top notch
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written this travel book of glorious food, life and love in a Tuscan village is inspiring and jealousy inducing. Inspirational and alluring. I want to cook all the food she speaks about, experience the harvests and foraging and all besides.
I would very much like to be a part of it!
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most lush, romantic, delicious books I've ever read.
I don't know if food will ever taste good again after reading her magical story.
Sue Dix
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The descriptions of the people and the countryside are just as delicious as the descriptions of the food, and the recipes will make your mouth water. A thoroughly enjoyable, and as the title says, bittersweet adventure.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unread-bookshelf
An American chef and her Venetian husband leave the comfort of a stable job in Venice to rent out a home in a quaint village in Tuscany that used to be a stable. They befriend a sage-like elderly man named Barlazzo, who can sometimes be cantankerous, but it’s worth it because of the rich knowledge he possesses if the region’s history. Together with him, they embark on adventures, most of them culinary, and live the simple, rural life of Tuscany, immersing themselves it all its delights. This mem ...more
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 17, 2009 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
Linda Wright
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoy this author . I really do - but I have noticed a pattern in her 3 star books that keep it from being a 5 star. This is a 325 page book .
At page 283 she finally begins to tell us the backstory on the Duke in this book.
He is one of the most prominent of 4 characters . I would have enjoyed knowing his history versus the details of yet another collaborative feast with him.
It would have motivated to read with an appetite (no pun intended) .
I also noticed the repetitive use of wine drinking
Cynthia Neale
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 08, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
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Italian Memoirs (4 books)
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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
14 likes · 6 comments
“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.” 14 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.” 10 likes
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