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A Thousand Days In Venice: An Unexpected Romance [Paperback]

Marlena de Blasi
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Mar 2003

When Fernando spots her in a Venice cafe and knows immediately that she is The One, Marlena de Blasi is caught off guard. A divorced American woman travelling through Italy, she thought she was satisfied with her life. Yet within a few months, she quits her job as a chef, sells her house, kisses her two grown-up kids goodbye, and moves to Venice. Once there, she finds herself sitting in sugar-scented pasticcerie, strolling through sixteenth-century palazzi, renovating an apartment overlooking the seductive Adriatic Sea, and preparing to wed a virtual stranger in an ancient stone church.

As this transplanted American learns the hard way about the peculiarities of Venetian culture, we are treated to an honest, often comic view of how two middle-aged people, both set in their ways but also set on being together, build a life. A THOUSAND DAYS IN VENICE is filled with the foods and flavours of Italy and peppered with recipes and culinary observations. But the main course here is about a woman who falls in love with both a man and a city, and finally finds the home she didn't know she was missing.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (20 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741141354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741141351
  • ASIN: 184408020X
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Above all a love paean to the city. Anyone who has not already visited Venice will want to visit, and those who have been there will want to return soon (BOOK LOONS)

Marlena describes the comical pitfallls of falling in love with a Venetian. Well worth reading. OK! ('If you have ever been to Venice..then you will adore this book. If you have never been to Italy, you will love this book. It's earthy, beautiful, emotional and a true story.')

Evening Herald ('If you're feeling starved of romance, you'll devour A Thousand Days In Venice by Marlena de Blasi'. Prima)

This is a book to appeal to all the senses, full of interesting sidelights on life in Venice...a thoroughly enjoyable read. (New Books Magazine)

Book Description

* Set in the world's most romantic city, this exhilarating memoir tells what it's like to risk it all for love.

* Food lovers will adore this memoir in the tradition of La Cucina/ Like Water for Chocolate.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting love story 23 Nov 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like others I initially bought this book because I love Venice. It had an added piquancy for me as a middle-aged woman who loves food, and who unexpectedly fell in love with a stranger.
There is a faint whiff of American cheesiness in it very occasionally, but in the main it is a voluptuous and almost poetic account of a new beginning, an odd romance and immersion in the most glorious city in the world. It made me wiggle my toes with pleasure and make myself slow down so I didn't read it too quickly. The account of their wedding is so glorious that I unashamedly sat on a London bus with tears in my eyes while I read it.
Can't recommend it highly enough, and not just to sentimental women.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romance and Recipes 26 Aug 2004
By A Customer
An enchanting and delightful story of romance and recipes. In her biography, Marlena de Blasi tells how she leaves her job in Santa Lucia, America, sells her house and most of her possessions to go and live in Venice with Fernando, a Venetian she has only known a few weeks.
De Blasi is passionate about food, choosing and buying the perfect ingredients, cooking them and eating, preferably with friends, but often on her own or with Fernando in the many cafes and restaurants of Venice.
She seem to capture the essence of Venice in a story packed full of seductive descriptions of the people she meets and of her wanderings around the canals, piazzas and churches of Venice, while searching out the best ingredients in the markets, the perfect fabrics with which to decorate their apartment and a dressmaker with the vision to sew her the wedding dress she desires.
De Blasi captures the Venetian pace of life and the essence of mystical allure of Venice herself. The recipes along the way only add to the enchantment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 999 days too many! 4 Oct 2011
1000 days.... oh if only it had been a weekend,then I might have survived the torture of this staccato script and hedonistic hash. Instead the pain was procrastinated as this chef (or novelist as she now believes she is) bores us beyond belief and manages, single handedly, to sieve, squeeze and grate the glamour, gracefulness and beauty out of this enchanting city. This was one of the most tedious, incredible and irritating novels I have ever had to force myself to try and finish. Perhaps the author has a friend in publishing - I can't think of any other reason for having this junk on the bookshelves of what were, once upon a time, some reputable High Street stores. If it weren't so irritating and blood-pressure-raising, I would recommend it as a cure for insomnia. Back to the kitchen, please Marlena...
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful book 20 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This book written by an American woman tells the story of her meeting the love of her life in Venice. She captures the very essence of the city in her descriptions and brings it all to the reader in her unique way.
The events leading to the meeting with Fernando, a lonely Venetian living in a shabby apartment, fill the reader with anticipation as to how and when they will speak for the first time. Her feelings and emotions, her hesitation, and the falling in love with a stranger in the world's most romantic city is the stuff of dreams.
The descriptions of the food they eat are utterly mouthwatering, not surprising really as the author is a chef, food critic and journalist. There are some recipes included to capture the taste of their meals together. A real treat.
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. Intelligent, literary writing. I just wish I had the words to write a better review!
Highly recommended to all lovers of Venice, Italy, and romance in the middle years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Why *shouldn't* I go to live on the fringes of an Adriatic lagoon with a blueberry-eyed stranger and leave no trail of biscotti crumbs to find my way back?"

Quite right. You go, girl!

This is the true story of Marlena, a middle-aged American chef and journalist who quite unexpectedly stumbles into love in glorious Venice with Fernando, a quirky banker and Peter Sellers lookalike.

Told with both warmth and sentimental humour, the book recounts everything, from their first awkward meeting, to Fernando's determination to win the heart of the woman he fell in love with at first sight, then ultimately to Marlena giving up her life in the US to follow her heart and move to Italy.

The prose is beautiful; it's almost sheer poetry at times. De Blasi's descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells around her are just faultless- lush with richness and romance. She has an ability to bring people alive through her words- I just devoured this book.

Speaking of devouring: the recipes. Oh yum, the recipes!! Placed in the context at which she herself enjoyed them, they conjure up the speedy deliriousness of falling in love and evocative Italian life. I will DEFINITELY be trying some of them; particularly the pasta with walnut sauce. At times I was torn between wanting to hurry up to see what happened next, but crying and trying to slow down, because I knew that this beautiful book was drawing to a close.

For an Italian obsessed foodie like me, I have to bluntly state that this was in fact the perfect novel and one that I will treasure for years to come. I can't wait to read her other books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
pleased with purchase
Published 4 days ago by Janet
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special. for me
For me a disappointing novel.
Sadly, it jus didn't fulfil any sort of romantic charm.
But that is just my opinion.
Someone else may really enjoy it.
Published 5 months ago by G. E. Penny
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if you're a foodie
I only bought this book because it is the title I've been given for a competitive class in floral design at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2014. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Meg King
3.0 out of 5 stars book good,condition only fair
This is not about the book that I enjoyed but the condition of the book I would only rate as fair not good.
Published 8 months ago by Dorset Alan
5.0 out of 5 stars Venitian Novel
Book ordered and arrived as stated online thankyou. The book is perfect for anyone who loves Venice or anyone who would like to know Venice. Read more
Published 15 months ago by jeanne
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance
A super read for romance, history and life. I enjoyed Marlena de Blasi as she describes the way of life and a romance that truly was unexpected. Good read.
Published 18 months ago by Joyce M. Gleeson-adamidis
5.0 out of 5 stars Gastro memoirs and a bit of romance thrown in.
There is something inspirational that a middle aged American woman can up sticks and settle in Venice. Read more
Published 18 months ago by TripFiction
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, Romantic, & Brilliant ! Can't Recommend I Too Highly!
I could read this book over & over again & NEVER tire of it. It will stay in my bookcase for ever, & will probably be "worn out", eventually. Read more
Published 18 months ago by MaggieP
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected!
This book was recommended to me by a friend and as I love reading about Italy, I ordered it ASAP. It is much more than, or perhaps not even, a story about a place, but a story... Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2012 by Gardener
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
Although this was a 'used' item, it was of a shoddy condition. Obviously water damaged in the past, it had watermarks throughout and was dog-eared. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2011 by Gill Ranson
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