The Lady in the Palazzo

  • by Marlena de Blasi
  • Narrated by Laural Merlington
  • 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From village feasts and rustic tavernas to ancient piazzas and moonlit balconies, the smells, tastes, sounds, and soul of Umbria come alive in best-selling author Marlena de Blasi's evocative memoir. By turns romantic and sensual, joyous and celebratory, touching and humorous, Marlena de Blasi's account of moving with her husband, Fernando, to Orvieto, the largest city in Italy's Umbria, will appeal to anyone who delights in travel and shares the fantasy of beginning a new life in a very different place. It is a tale of the couple's search for the right home, which turns out to be the former ballroom of a 15th-century palazzo, and the right balance in their lives, in this case making friends of cooks, counts, shepherds, and a lone violinist. It is a tale, too, of an American woman finding her niche in a society bound by tradition and seemingly closed to outsiders. With a voice full of wonder, de Blasi 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 convincingly captures the essence of a singular place and created a feast for readers of all stripes.


What the Critics Say

"Vivid 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." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I love Italy, Italians, Italian food, the language. I wanted and started to enjoy this book but the narrator's voice became more monotonous every time I restarted the listen. Stick to Lilly Prior's La Cucina for a fabulous Italian story, and wonderful narration, or Peter Mayle's Provence if you want to stay awake, and laugh.
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- Lydia

A Terrible Reader

Even though this book owes more than a great debt to Francis Mayes (one could say it is an Under the Tuscan Sun knock off), it could still be enjoyable to Italophiles and those loving Orvieto if they had given some thought to the reader. This woman "butchers" the Italian language. This is not excusable in a book that has Italian words sprinkled liberally on almost every page! One could excuse the hard stuff like pronouncing gli as "glee" but when simple words are mispronounced (piccolo is pronounced "pee cho low") it just gets too much to bear. At every turn, the reader chooses the wrong place to put an accent. Why choose a reader who has no knowledge of, or affinity for, the Italian language? A missed opportunity.
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- Frederick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-21-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio