Sunday, November 1, 2009

Van Allen, Susan. 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go.

Travelers’ Tales Guides. Travelers’ Tales. Oct. 2009. c.448p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1932361650 (Trade Paper). $18.95.

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. While this publication is not available as an ebook and lacks reference maps, photographs, an Italian-English glossary, and tear-out pages, all of which would have been helpful, value-added features, it does contain much useful, insightful, nuts-and-bolts information for women travelers and others visiting Italy. Sufficiently- documented, nicely-presented, and well- organized, this delightful, easy-to-read book is highly recommended for chick-lit readers as well as general audiences. It belongs in many public library collections as an additional travel resource. Review copy (Uncorrected galley). Availability:, Barnes &