A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi.
The first book of several chronicling the author’s adventures in Italy after falling madly in love with the ‘stranger’ in Venice. She writes about the joys and frustrations of living in Italy (and with an Italian). Marlena is also a cook, and her descriptions of the market and meals makes this book exceptional. She has included some mouth-watering recipes and also her favorite things to do in Venice, priceless advice I have used in my travels there.
I was lucky enough to have met Marlena twice while visiting Orvieto. Once as I past her in a narrow alley leading to the city’s center and again as I darted back and forth in front of the cafe where she was enjoying a coffee after furtively stalking her. Alright, so I might not have held an actual conversation with her. She had a commanding presence, dressed to the nines in black and in full make up. In a rare moment of intimidation I was unable to speak to her. But in my defense, Marlena is an extremely private person. She is rumored to give two cooking lessons a year but the information is by word of mouth only.
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