From village feasts and rustic tavernas to ancient piazzas and moonlit balconies, the smells and tastes and sounds and soul of Umbria come alive in bestselling author Marlena de Blasi's evocative memoir.
By turns romantic and sensual, joyous and celebratory, touching and humorous, Marlena de Blasi's account of moving with her husband, Fernando, to Orvieto, the largest city in Italy's Umbria, will appeal to anyone who delights in travel and shares the fantasy of beginning a new life in a very different place. It is a tale of the couple's search for the right home-which turns out to be the former ballroom of a fifteenth=-century palazzo-and the right balance in their lives, in this case making friends of cooks, counts, shepherds, and a lone violinist. It is a tale, too, of an American woman finding her niche in a society bound by tradition and seemingly closed to outsiders.
With a voice full of wonder, de Blasi brings to life these engagingly quirky people and the aloof, almost daunting society that exists in Umbria. Not since Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence has a writer so convincingly captures the essence of a singular place and created a feast for readers of all stripes.
"Vivid writing and an affectionate appreciation of the sounds, scenes and flavors of Italy."-Publishers Weekly
Lushly Written and Beautifully Read, if Italian Pronunciation is Not Important
I enjoyed the content of this book very much. Listening to the words Signora de Blasi has written, I was able to picture a wonderful adventure in an environment almost too rich and complex for language. The narrator did a lovely job, too, of keeping the author's descriptive prose moving along, as light and conversational as it could be. I did, however, frequently notice that the narrator could have used an Italian language coach. I'm not usually a snob about such things, and would easily have ignored the awkward phrasing of a person reading phonetically - who doesn't understand the words that she is reading. However, the mispronunciation of so many words broke the spell of the enchanting story in many places for me.
This type of book does very well in helping me understand Italy better and miss Italy less in between trips from the US. This book in particular helped me put some new villages on my next Italian itinerary so that I can experience them for myself. All in all, the book is beautifully written and read, and I would like very much to hear more stories of Italy from this author.