“Golden Days are easy to come by when you’re in Italy. They’re those days when Italy’s sensual pleasures harmonize, and you just bask in the golden glow of it all.”
—Susan Van Allen
I feel as if I know—and really like—Susan Van Allen, even though we’ve never met. Our lopsided relationship began the moment I opened her book 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go.
Skimming through each enticing destination with Susan is like traveling to Italy with a friend who’s funny, smart, adventurous and incredibly informed. Her ardor comes naturally, born at her Nana and Papa’s dining table Papa in Newark, New Jersey.
Susan—who lives in Los Angeles and writes for travel media as well as television— approaches Italy actively (and not only in her section on biking, hiking, boating and other get-a-move-on recreations.) She leads readers beyond passive tourism into engagement in the culture and with the people.
Entries are grouped by special interest sections such as “The Divine: Goddesses, Saints, and The Blessed Virgin Mary,” “Gardens,” “Beaches,” and “Learn Italian Crafts and Culture.”
If you’re in Naples, you’ll be sure not to miss the Venus of the Beautiful Buttocks in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.
When you’re in Tuscany, you’ll go out of your way to experience the magical Tarot Garden in Capalbio, designed by artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
If you crave secret coves, you’ll find a way to Scopello on the western coast of Sicily. A free horseshoe-shaped expanse of white pebbles and fine sand is hugged by limestone towers and turquoise water. Oh, and Lo Zingaro National Park with its rocky hiking trails and panoramic vistas is next door.
And if hands-on is thumbs-up for you, choose a craft. Making masks or mosaics in Venice . . . weaving and embroidery in Perugia . . . cooking in the shadow of Greek temples in Paestum.
With the destinations, Susan includes tips on lodging and dining to make the experience a “Golden Day.” Recommended books, Web sites, Resources, and Advice from Other Writers are included to amplify the information.
I’ll be savoring the book in a cozy reading chair but when I do pack my bags for bel’italia, I just might want to download the 100 Places in Italy iPhone app. Just hope the olive oil massage at Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia doesn’t smear the screen.
For a chance to win a free copy of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, leave a comment. Please include your e-mail address in the comment box so we can contact you. The winner will be randomly selected on June 1, 2010.
Susan Van Allen says
Congratulations Tiffany! I just know your love of Italy will get you there someday soon. It’s a powerful passion! Best wishes and Buon Viaggio, Susan Van Allen
Carol Griswold says
This is my trip to my home land that I’ve never been able to afford. Thanks for sharing all the great tips!
Rosa (Scintilla) says
I’m off to try the gnocchi that Susan says are the best in Italy. So secret in Positano that I didn’t even know about them!
Carol Malzone says
I know – and really like – Susan Van Allen, and all your instincts are correct. Her book is a marvel and should be required reading before taking that first – or subsequent – trip to Italy.
evelyn pietrobono says
I went to Tuscany three years ago. We rented a farmhouse and it was the best vacation ever. Went to visit the villages in Abruzzi where my grandparents came from. I’m looking forward to another trip to beautiful Italy. I thoroughly enjoy this website and it takes me back to the lovely days spent in my favorite vacation spot!!
Tiffany Wells says
I just love Italy–learning about the culture, food and richness of the land! Hopefully, one day I will get to go. Good luck on your future endeavors in Italy! 🙂
I would love to read this book as I am planning to make a trip to Italy to see where all 4 of my Grandparents grew up.
Dale Attaway says
Thanks for the interesting info. My daughter will be going to Italy in a few months so I will forward this to her.
Ciao, bella — and thanks for turning us on to this book. Sounds like HEAVENLY reading. Now, if I can just find some vacation time (and of course, some euros) to actually GET to Italy and experience all this in person rather than on the printed page!
Maureen aka UrbanTravelGirl