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100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go Paperback – October 20, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book makes me want to pack my bag with the lightest of clothing and follow Susan Van Allen’s alluring suggestions for traveling in Italy. Her knowledge reveals an intimacy with the country and a honed sense of adventure. Andiamo!
—Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun

“Van Allen warms the room with her memories and imagination…precise and true.”
The New York Times

“It’s as if Van Allen has left us a trail of succulent ravioli crisscrossing the country, and we follow along gleefully, nibbling on one delightful, enlightening morsel after another.”
—Nan McElroy, author of Italy: Instructions for Use

“I’ve just returned from six weeks in Italy and how I wish I’d had Van Allen’s book. It positively sparkles with delight in all matters female, which, it turns out, is an optimal way to reveal particularly delicious matters Italian. Italy has a new portrait: sexy and savvy. Makes a gal smile in English and Italian, to eat up this compendium of Italy’s most delectable women’s outings.”
—Anne Calcagno, author of Pray for Yourself and editor of Travelers’ Tales Italy

“I knew that Italy was the land of la dolce vita and far niente, but this is the first book to present an organized way to find your way through her earthly and soulful wonders. I want all my girlfriends to have a copy of 100 Places.”
—Camille Cusumano, editor of Italy, A Love Story

“A wonderful gift for any woman traveling to Italy. With Van Allen’s advice you won’t be overwhelmed and you’ll discover how nurturing it is to travel in a country that has honored us since we all descended from Venus.”
—Marybeth Bond, author of Gutsy Women and Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide

“Part guidebook, part history, and part manual to the good life in the land of La Dolce Vita, Susan Van Allen’s magnum opus on all things Italian is essential reading for women (and men) who either want to get the most out of their next trip or want to be spirited back to their last.”
—David Farley, author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town

“Susan Van Allen’s writing makes the magic of Italy jump off the page. She has a knack for capturing the charms, quirks, and authenticity of this magnificent land. Don’t go to Italy without reading this!”
—Kathy McCabe, editor and publisher, Dream of Italy Travel Newsletter

“That old Freudian chestnut—'What do women really want?!'—has been answered once again in yet another appealing Travelers’ Tales opus specifically designed for women. In this instance, Susan Van Allen has romped through an Italy replete with seductive goddesses and female saints, architectural wonders, beauty spas, entrancing beaches, shopping sprees and craft/cultural courses, and picked the very best, mixing dreamy delights with drops of dainty decadence. Van Allen suggests readers: ‘treat this book like a cookbook…and make a full meal of it.’ She obviously did. You could—and you should.”
—David Yeadon, author of Seasons in Basilicata and The Way of the Wanderer

“Forget throwing that coin in the fountain. No matter how many times you’ve been to Italy and think you know it, reading Susan Van Allen’s 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go almost guarantees a return trip. Now I must visit Siena, not for the Palio, but because it was here that St. Catherine bucked family expectations and proclaimed her commitment to Christ, thereby becoming a medieval woman to be reckoned with. Susan took her exhaustive research and whipped up a delightful book you’ll only put down long enough to check the flights to that fascinating country.”
—Carol Coviello-Malzone, author of Flavors of Rome: How What & Where to Eat in the Eternal City

About the Author

Susan Van Allen has written about Italian travel for over twenty-five media outlets, including National Public Radio, Town & Country, Student Traveler, Chicago Daily Herald, San Diego Tribune, CNN.com, and Travelers’ Tales anthologies, and has a following for her monthly Letters from Italy column on the Divine Caroline web-site. A native of the New Jersey shore, when Van Allen’s not in Italy she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and writes for television. She was on staff of the Emmy award winning sit com Everybody Loves Raymond.

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Product Details

  • Series: 100 Places
  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers Tales; 1st edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932361650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361650
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Van Allen's love for Italy stems from her maternal grandparents, who emigrated from Southern Italy. She was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up on the Jersey shore amidst wonderful food and drama. When she first stepped off the train into Roma Termini in 1976, she got hooked on Italian travel. Since then she's explored the country up and down the boot--visiting relatives, immersing herself in the country's masterpieces and culture, taking language and cooking classes, and going on boating, biking, and hiking adventures. She's written about Italian travel for over twenty-five media outlets, including National Public Radio, Town & Country, Student Traveler, Tastes of Italia, Chicago Daily Herald, several Travelers' Tales anthologies (including Best Travel Writing 2009), and CNN.com. Van Allen also writes for television, and was on staff of the Emmy winning sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. When she's not in Italy, she is based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and makes scrumptious lasagnas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this trim- sized (5.5 X 7.5 in.), relatively compact, uniquely- anecdotal, informative guide book intended for women, but also appropriate for men, who are traveling to Italy for the first or twenty-first time, Van Allen (author writing about Italian travel for over twenty-five media outlets including National Public Radio, Town & Country, Student Traveler, the Chicago Daily Herald, and [...]; author of monthly Letters from Italy column on the Divine Caroline website; former staffer for the Emmy winning sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond; based in Los Angeles; [...]), an Italian-American who has been journeying to Italy since 1976 to visit relatives and explore the country, writes about her personal experiences as well as those of her friends. With passion and humor that clearly evidence her love for Italy, its cultures, and peoples, the author culls the overwhelming amount of information on Italian travel into a reasonably- sized publication consisting of thirteen sections, one hundred chapters, and at least two appendices, covering all types of Italian adventures and experiences. With women predominately in mind, Van Allen describes and recommends museums, palaces, gardens, beaches, beauty treatments, spas, caffés, restaurants, winebars, shopping, biking, hiking, skiing, boating, yoga, cooking classes, Italian crafts, fine arts, language courses, entertainment, and more. She also provides many practical details and helpful tips in relatively short, concise chapters, each of which is supplemented by "golden days" or daily itineraries, lists of websites, and recommended readings.Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Hales on October 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this delectable morsel of a book--sure to delight readers of both sexes--Susan van Allen gives us 1,000 intriguing reasons to visit the places she knows and describes so well. After 25 years of visiting Italy, I found new treasures I can't wait to explore, with this book in hand. Brava!La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alisa on August 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping it would help me find the gems of Italy. However, it's more of a narrative/essay book than a helpful planning guide. I think it would have been a better book if she listed more options for each of the chapters (she provides only 1 or 2 for most experiences), and included some budget-friendly options. I've been combing through the book all day trying to find some key experiences, but everything is way over my budget, and many only offer week-long options which increases the cost. I will have to save some of her suggestions for when I'm middle-aged and have more money and less time to splurge on Italian getaways (I am a student). It's a little disappointing in a way that it gets your hopes up for a particular experience, and then it costs 2000 euros to do it, and there's no alternative listed.

Yet, this will definitely help hone in on delightful things to look out for while in Italy. This book combined with a proper planning guide, such as Rick Steves', would be good for creating a customized and varied trip. This book is not organized well for self-planning. I find myself constantly jumping from chapter to chapter to figure out what to do where, and will have to take extensive notes just to organize the info myself. Unless, of course, you want to pay a company to customize one for you, then she offers resources for that quite a bit.

Also, be aware that some of the websites listed are not written correctly--Google the places she mentions and you will find the right website.

Overall, if you want a book to dream about Italy, this is it. She has "recommended reading" at the end of almost every chapter. If you want a book to plan a trip to Italy right now, and want to do more than 2-3 things on a single trip, then make sure you get at least one supplemental guidebook.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Diane Scheidt on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a gift and I cannot put it down. Not your typical travel book, Ms. Van Allen weaves wonderful tales of wonderful places filled with lusty, historic and heroic women, beautiful scenery, and Italian wanderlust. I have now realized that I must extend my planned 10 day trip to Italy to at least a month so I can take in all the wonders Ms. Van Allen has made come to life. I now cannot wait to see Mary's Sacred Girdle, Salome dancing, soak in Saturnia and listen to the divas of the Torino Opera House. This book will not just guide your Italian dream vacation , but also spark your imagination!!! I would recommend it to anyone (male or female) who is planning a trip to Italy, or just dreams of Italian adventures.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Sees on January 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Van Allen crisscrosses Italy from top to bottom, touching the Big Three (Venice, Florence and Rome) and covering lesser-visited spots, but her tour is not that of a typical guidebook. In her words, she's created a cookbook from which one can pick and chose according to one's tastes--art, eating, shopping, etc.

But what makes Van Allen's book unique is the lens she's chosen to view Italy. Her focus is on women--the Madonna, Venus and Italy's myriad goddesses and female saints.

In Rome, most guidebooks introduce the Michelangelo-designed Piazza del Campidoglio and direct visitors to the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius inside the museum. Van Allen instead highlights Minerva in the piazza and directs us to the demure Venus inside. She tells us about Venus's hot affairs with Mars and Adonis, gossiping as if Venus were someone she knew today. She does this in every one of her favorite churches and museums throughout Italy. The first half of the book, focused on art and history, is my favorite part.

In the second half, she looks through the female lens with a more secular focus--gardens, spas, sports, shopping, cooking, culture and more. I especially like her Golden Days, her suggestions for other things to see at each venue with recommendations for dining and lodging.

Van Allen's "100 Places in Italy" might be better titled "1000 Places"--it's so packed with information. I'll be tucking this into my bag on my next visit.
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