JourneyWoman Book Club: “The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria” by Marlena de Blasi

About this Book

by Carolyn Ray 

When I read that this book was about Orvieto, my heart stopped! I visited this tiny, hilltop town just outisde Rome almost 10 years ago and it remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Italy. Known for its white wine and olive oil, Orvieto is a medieval town perched on cliffs above a pastoral countryside with a white and black striped cathedral in the middle of the village.

With the breathless anticipation that seduced her readers to fall in love with Venice and then Tuscany, Marlena de Blasi now takes us on a new journey as she moves with her husband, Fernando, to Orvieto, a large and ancient city in Italy’s Umbria. Having neither an edge to a sea nor a face to a foreign land, it’s a region less trampled by travelers and, in turn, less accepting of strangers. So de Blasi sets out to establish her niche in this new place and to win over her new neighbors by doing what she does best, cooking her way into their hearts. (Her recipes are included.)

Rich with history and a vivid sense of place, her memoir is by turns romantic and sensual, joyous and celebratory, as she searches for the right balance in this city on the hill, as well as the right home, which turns out to be the former ballroom of a dilapidated sixteenth-century palazzo.

De Blasi meets and makes friends with an array of colorful, memorable characters, including cooks and counts and shepherds and a lone violinist, and their stories, too, become a part of the tapestry of life that she weaves for herself in Orvieto. With a voice full of wonder, she 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 happily succeeded in capturing the essence of a singular place and in creating a feast for readers of all stripes.

Our Take on this Novel 

To come!

Carolyn and Wendy, your book club hosts 

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The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria 

by Marlena de Blasi Recommended by Sandra  BOOK CLUB FEBRUARY 17, 2021  Marlena di Blasi seduced readers to fall in love with Venice, then Tuscany, with her popular and critically acclaimed books A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany. Now she takes readers on a journey into the heart of Orvieto, an ancient city in the less-trodden region of Umbria. Rich with history and a vivid sense of place, her tale is by turns romantic and sensual, joyous and celebratory, as she and her husband search for a home in this city on a hill—finding one that turns out to be the former ballroom of a dilapidated sixteenth-century palazzo. Along the way, de Blasi befriends an array of colorful characters, including cooks and counts and shepherds and a lone violinist, cooking her way into the hearts of her Umbrian neighbors. Brimming with life and kissed by romance, The Lady in the Palazzo perfectly captures the essence of a singular place and offers up a feast—and the recipes to prepare it!—for readers of all stripes.
Lady in the Palazzo

ABOUT MARLENA DE BLASI

WOMAN wearing hat

Photo Source: Female First

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

MARLENA de BLASI is the internationally bestselling author of A Thousand Days in Venice, as well as four further bestselling memoirs and a novel, Amandine. She has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant and a restaurant critic. She is also the author of two internationally published cookbooks of Italian food. She and her Venetian husband, Fernando, live in Orvieto in Umbria, Italy.

For more about the author please read: https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/marlena-de-blasi-the-umbrian-thursday-night-supper-club-950749.html 

OUR FAVOURITE  PASSAGE

To come; we’re still reading it! 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 

SPECIAL GUEST

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Your Imagination Can Take You Places

Now more than ever we're finding cameraderie and inspiration through novels - join us each month as we discuss a different book, suggested by our community, about a far away land. 

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