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The Lady In The Palazzo


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* Review and feature coverage * Featured on the Virago website

About the Author

Marlena de Blasi is the author of two other bestselling memoirs for Virago. She lives in Orvieto in Umbria, Italy.


De Blasi's book will make you hungry, and that's a good thing. The latest gastronomic adventure from the author of A Thousand Days in Venice brings to life an Italian culture steeped in culinary tradition and social eccentricity. De Blasi's narrative focuses on the city of Orvieto a city "built on wine" in Italy's Umbria, where she and her husband, Fernando, search for a home and find one: a former ballroom in a 15th-century palazzo. Her exploration of her new life in Orvieto is meal-centered, showing us mouth-watering community feasts, fascinating culinary traditions did you know that polenta should only be stirred clockwise? and quirky characters who help pass the time between espressos and the construction in the author's home. Recipes are included, so in the end, de Blasi's Umbria may or may not be a place you need to visit, but, thanks to this book, it will already be a place that you have "tasted" and "seen." Recommended for public libraries. Mari Flynn, Keystone Coll., La Plume, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'De Blasi is more than a sunny regional food writer ? she digs into the meaning of life' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 'De Blasi is a skilled, quirky writer; her prose is by turns reserved, rococo, earthy and, above all, fresh' KIRKUS REVIEWS

Following A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany, de Blasi's new book, set in Orvieto, is ostensibly about her effort, with her Italian husband, first to find, then to renovate and at last to move into the ballroom of a splendid, dilapidated medieval palazzo. The renovation becomes an engrossing portrait of the town and some of its inhabitants. Nothing goes according to plan or schedule, but de Blasi uses the years (literally) of waiting to explore the life of the town, centering on the home-based caff?-kitchen of her friend Miranda and the caff?'s patrons. De Blasi's exuberance and her American disregard of Italian class distinctions at times distress her new friends and also her husband, but eventually, almost by accident, she pulls off a coup of diplomatic d?tente just after they finally set up housekeeping in the palazzo. Vvid writing and an affectionate appreciation of the sounds, scenes and flavors of Italy, as well as of the somewhat eccentric Umbrians she meets, will charm lovers of that country. (Jan. 26) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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