What. A. Book.
Marlena De Blasi’s The Lady In The Palazzo is about her life in Umbria with her husband Fernando, after living in Venice and Tuscany post her marriage. The couple decides that life is too short to not travel, to not experience life in other places the way locals do. After staying put in Tuscany for a while, their gypsy souls stir, and they move to Umbria – a short distance away. They are thrilled when they find that they can rent a part of an Umbrian palace for themselves, the part that was once a ballroom. That is when their experiences with and their true understanding of the Umbrian people begins.
The book is delightful, to say the least. Like in her previous two autobiographical accounts, Marlena’s prose flows so beautifully as to be poetic. I found myself charmed more than once, and wanted to live a simple life like hers. It made me dream of Umbria, made me see the places and the people there in my mind’s eye.
And, oh, the book is about food as much as it is about Umbria – simple, traditional fare that you can include in the category of ‘soul food’. And, as foodie books always do, this one too made me hungry and urged me to cook, too.
There are many passages, many lines in the book that had me sighing with pleasure.
The Lady In The Palazzo has everything you need in a book – romance, food, wanderlust, luscious descriptions of a place, drama, realisations and growing up.
I loved this book just as much as I did its prequels – A Thousand Days In Venice and A Thousand Days In Tuscany. I would highly recommend this trilogy to one and all.