Friday, 4 December 2009

Far from the madding crowd...

Having made the decision to bring my G.G 'home' for Christmas and cancel my own plans to be in Sydney my festive season arrangements have had to be made in somewhat of a hurry....I left home yesterday with a determination not to be sucked in to the maelstrom that is Christmas shopping, a list, and an image in my mind something like this:

What I found when I got there was this:

What to do? No way of re-organising the travel arrangements - the plane left without me on, the only sensible thing was to transport myself to saner and sunnier climes the only way I know how without actually checking in....via the power of the pen - and I know just the lady I can rely on in a crisis:

Marlena de Blasi is one of my favourite writers - she is an American who met and eventually married a Venetian, selling up in St Louis, Missouri and moving to Venice to set up home with the man she refers to in her books as 'the blueberry eyed stranger'...the first book of the trilogy is the one pictured second here - 'A Thousand Days in Venice'....the next book 'A Thousand Days in Tuscany' (also published as 'Dolce e Salata' depending where you live) chronicles the story of their move to San Casciano dei Bagni, a small Tuscan village...

And finally, 'The Lady in the Palazzo' (or'an Umbrian Love Story' again depending where you live) continues 'Marlena's passionate love affair with Fernando, with Italy and with food, as she befriends the local aristocracy, the cooks and artisan makers of mouth-watering breads, cheeses, wine & pastries as well as the shopkeepers, farmers and shepherds, each of whom brings a gift to the table and the story. Each is part of the simple, sometimes chaotic, often celebratory daily life Marlena creates in Orvieto.' (sic)
I love the way these memoirs also contain recipes (usually from her cookbooks - A Taste of Southern Italy & Regional Foods of Northern Italy)...interspersed with her gorgeously lyrical prose. She is enthusiastic about her adopted home and the people of the community she is now part of...the books are peppered with colourful characters and full of life....
All I need is a glass of Vin Santo in the hand, logs crackling in the woodburner and any of these on my lap and I can be instantly on the 'vaporetto' heading to San Marco or tripping barefoot through sun-dappled olive, where shall I go tomorrow?........s


  1. Oh Suzi. You have taken me back to my last two holidays. I adore Venice. It is my favourite holiday destination. I am going to buy all three books. I haven't braved the Christmas shopping crowds. I get lots of my presents online.
    Have a great weekend Suzie. XXXX

  2. Suzi
    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog! It sounds like we will be in the same boat this Christmas..a brisk one! I have another book to add to your list, Vanilla Beans and Brodo by australian author Isabella Dusi. Isabella and her husband moved on from Oz and settled in Montalcino in Tuscany. It is a delightful story and one of my favourites. I am big fan of travel writing and will put my thinking cap on for more suggestions. My blog has two books featured by Alice Steinbach, Without Reservations and Educating Alice. Details are on the blog.
    Are you familiar with Surrey? Looking for suggestions.....Thx Jeanne xo

  3. These books look wonderful Susie - will look out for them here - thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend... xx

  4. Thanks for the ready suggestions. I might be looking for something to do on snow days.

  5. I love the contrast between the two shopping scenarios - very nicely done!