The Sunday Salon: Armchair Traveling

Ah, Venice.

The Piazza de san Marco.

The square filled with people, lingering arm in arm, chattering merrily.

The cafes redolent with wonderful aromas, the melody of wine goblets clinking in air.

And the canals, always the canals, the rhythmic slap-spap of the water against the gondolas, the slurp of the oar in the water.

No, I really haven’t been in Venice this week.

But I’ve been tucked into my cozy armchair with A Thousand Days in Venice, Marlena de Blasi’s richly evocative memoir about her bold and unexpected move to Venice to marry a man she fell in love with on her first visit to this romantic city.

If I hadn’t known this was a true story, I would never have believed a middle aged woman would pack up her entire life in America and move to Venice to live with (and eventually marry) a man she affectionately calls “The Stranger.”  But De Blasi is nothing if not adventurous, and I have to admire her sheer moxie even if I can barely believe it.

This was one of my choices for the Venice in February reading challenge. I’m now happily engrossed in another of my selections, Crossing the Bridge of Sighs, by Susan Ashley Michael.

There seems to be something about Venice and Romance, doesn’t there?

Making it perfect reading for February, the month of  love.

So tell me? Are you reading about love on this Sunday? Or armchair traveling? Or both?






26 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Armchair Traveling

  1. I think I may have read the prequel to this book in Dutch translation. I remember liking it much better than I expected, though it still wasn’t the kind of book I loved.

  2. I am crazy for Armchair Travel. BTW, there’s a sequel to this book, but it does not take place in Venice. (Tuscany, though…that’s close to Venice in spirit.)
    I’d also like to invite you to sign up for my February Giveaway! Win All Kinds of Kisses or a $25 Amazon gift card!

  3. Marlena de Blasi’s memoir sounds wonderful! What fun it would be to be able to move to a place like Venice!

    I’m going to start The Talented Mr. Ripley tomorrow for Venice in February! I’m really looking forward to it!

    Enjoy Crossing the Bridge of Sighs which sounds romantic!

  4. I love Venice. It’s probably the most romantic place I’ve been. I am not really armchair traveling this Sunday, since the book I’m reading takes place in rural Ohio. I do love to take a nice book vacation though.

  5. This book sounds awesome! I love the whole “pack up your life for love” idea, possibly because I did it myself – but certainly not with so many risks attached!! I’ve also always been a bit fascinated with Venice. Thanks for bringing this book to light for me.

    I have been reading Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, which was a wonderful read but also touched a few raw nerves for me (in a good way). I’ve also been reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang and have just started Hunger Games – one chapter in and I’m hooked.

    • Well, I’m intrigued by your story – so you packed it in for love, too? Do tell!

      I’ve had Saving CeeCee Honeycutt on my list for a long time – I’m moving it up now. When people tell me books touch raw nerves for them, I have to read them!

      You’re the second person to tell me they’ve read Wild Swans recently. That’s kind of an old book – is there a read along going on, or a challenge? I read it quite a few years ago.

  6. Pingback: Sunday Caught My Interest « Reflections from the Hinterland

  7. There are a further three books following her adventures around Italy – she and her new husband moved to Tuscany, Orvieto in Umbria and then Sicily – presumably so that she could write about them.
    I have read the first two (Venice and Tuscany) and quite enjoyed them in a suspended-disbelief kind of way. If she is accurate about things, then she has a lot of courage!

    As luck would have it, I am reading about Sicily myself at the moment, working my way through the Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri while I wait for Donna Leon’s latest Brunetti novel to be published here. With our current weather, a little Italian sunshine is very welcome!

    • Well she’s even more courageous than I thought! For someone like myself, who has never moved farther than five miles away from where I was born, all that journeying around sounds amazing 😉

  8. Oh, this sounds lovely! As someone who also did the same thing, I have to get this and see how she found the experience of moving because of someone she met. I did it 11 years ago, and while this last year things have been very rough, for the most part it was something I’ve never regretted doing. Thanks for the lovely review!

  9. I think of Venice as romantic, but also eerie, unfortunately. I have not been there but have seen enough creepy movies that have used Venice as their setting – the narrow and dark passageways that one can get lost in, the damp and mossy walls that may seem gloomy at night, etc. I think of classics written about death in Venice, etc. I should visit the city to dispel these impressions from books and movies.

  10. Thank you for your post on this book–I found it at my library after you mentioned it here and enjoyed it. I am an enthusiastic armchair traveler and will likely purchase a copy for my bookshelf.


      • Me too! I had no idea she had written more until I saw comments here on this post! Do share when you do read it–I’m checking my library today 🙂

  11. Pingback: Armchair Travels : Venice « Dana Britt's Windows Wide Open

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