A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance
Fernando first sees Marlena across the Piazza San Marco and falls in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it’s fate. He knows little English; she, a divorced American chef traveling through Italy, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thought she was done with romantic love, incapable of intimacy. Yet within months of their first meeting, she quits her job, sells her house in St. Louis, kisses her two grown sons goodbye, and moves to Venice to marry “the stranger,” as she calls Fernando.
This deliciously satisfying memoir is filled with the foods and flavors of Italy and peppered with culinary observations and recipes. But the main course here is an enchanting true story about a woman who falls in love with both a man and a city, and finally finds the home she didn’t even know she was missing.
A short but sweet travelogue… even though the book’s tag line reads ‘an unexpected romance’ it would be easy to assume that the romance was between two people as opposed to a romance with a city.
I originally picked up this book because of its title and gorgeous cover image, and it did not disappoint in the author’s depictions of Venice. If you love Italy, history and Italian food then this book is a perfect visual escape into Venice.
There is not much detail about the couple themselves or their relationship, and honestly that was fine for me – but I wasn’t looking for an actual romance – I’m much more interested in the author’s love affair with such an incredible city.
While the author’s story about meeting a stranger in a foreign city, marrying, and completely changing her life is not new (Eat Pray Love is another example of the concept) the descriptions did feel romanticised and not quite realistic. There are no nitty gritty details of how a relationship between two people of totally different cultures made their relationship work, rather it felt like it had been airbrushed.
This is a memoir, so it is completely up to the author on how she chooses to tell her story, but honestly it felt like padding around the more interesting parts – her love affair and obsession with Venice.
Read it for the travel tips and if you enjoy dramatic romances… perfect for an afternoon escape by the pool!