Book Giveaway: 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go

100 Place in Italy Every Woman Should GoLast post, I tried to explain a bit about why I might possibly want to live in Italy–and by the way, thank you all *so* much for all the wonderful, kind, and supportive comments and insights!

Now as good timing would have it, today we have a guest post from Susan Van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, entitled:

Thoughts on Why Women Love Italy…

Before we get to the post, though, a contest just in time for the holidays!

Comment on this post on the blog (NOT on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) before midnight EST on Sunday, December 13, 2009 to be eligible to win one copy of Susan Van Allen’s 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go.

Now, here’s Susan:

Susan Van AllenI heard a story about a Manhattan shrink that intrigues me. His prescription for female patients who are depressed or suffering from low self esteem is this:

Take one Italian Vacation and call me when you come home…if you come home!

Smart shrink! From my experience, the test results are in: Every woman I’ve ever met (me included) who takes an Italian vacation comes back rejuvenated, strengthened, and often cured of whatever had been plaguing her.

So what is the secret ingredient that Italy has to turn our lives around?

I delved into this question while writing 100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go, talking to over a hundred women about their Italian travel experience and remembering my own, that began in 1976. I kept asking: “Why do you love Italy?” Inevitably this answer came: “It feels like Home”.

I understand “It feels like home” coming from someone like me, an Italian-American, who grew up with grandparents, aunts, and uncles who emigrated from southern Italy. I fell in love with Italy at my grandparents’ dining room table in Newark, New Jersey: a loving, abundant, and delicious place. Ever since my first trip there, over 30 years ago, that beautiful childhood feeling from that New Jersey dining room table rushes back at me each time I touch down in Italy.

But what about all those women without a drop of Italian blood who answered, “It feels like home.”

Obviously, we’re talking “Home” in that beautiful sweeping sense—Home meaning “a place that understands us, a place that feeds our soul.”

We feel it as soon as we land in Italy: a deluge of sensual pleasures: We see masterpieces, gorgeous sunsets, fountains, gardens, we smell the ragu, taste the wine and gelato, hear church bells, the lilting Italian language. We feel the Mediterranean sun on our shoulders. It’s such an overload of sensual pleasures, we lose our minds and our hearts melt open.

And then Italy embraces us.

It’s this embrace, I believe, that leads to the answer to my question. Yes, Italy is probably one of the world’s most welcoming country to everyone, but it seems to be especially custom made to welcome women.

The Birth of VenusWhy do Women Love Italy? Because Italy Loves Women.

Women are adored here, from baby principessas to nonnas. And who doesn’t adore being adored?

On the surface, the adoration comes from those handsome Italian men, who in the great tradition of Casanova, have mastered the art of flirting. But in Italy, the adoration of women goes even deeper than that. It’s rooted in this culture that’s worshipped women as divine beings ever since the earth was cooling.

Could this be the secret ingredient? Italy’s long tradition of female worship? You’re surrounded by it everywhere you turn. It comes on most strongly through two deities who reign supreme, side-by-side: Venus, that Vixen Goddess of Love and Beauty, and the Madonna, the Mother of Abundance and Compassion. We come face to face with these females in sculptures and paintings in museums, temples, and churches. Their essence floats in the Italian air, buoying us. Together, Venus and the Madonna embody the complete woman: The Venus side of us that’s the whimsical, adventurous beauty who revels in sensual pleasures and the Madonna side of us—the nurturing, compassionate soul whose generosity is boundless.

Stand back and take a look at an Italian woman striding down the via—she knows those divine Venus-Madonna sparks live inside her. For the rest of us, a trip to Italy fans those sparks. It reawakens us and takes us back to our true divine nature, to our souls. Effortlessly, it takes us home.

So you could spend years on a psychiatrist’s couch. Or, as that Manhattan shrink suggests, you could take a trip to Italy. I say, Go! Buy that ticket. Enjoy every moment. Revel in coming home.


LOVE this, Susan. Thanks so much!

Remember to comment for your chance to win a copy of Susan’s book by Sunday at midnight!

85 Beans of Wisdom to “Book Giveaway: 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go”
  1. 12.07.2009

    What a fun guest post! The key will be figuring out how to get insurance to pay for that trip to Italy, you know, for mental health!
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Perugia in the Spotlight =-.

  2. Only 100 places in Italy every woman should visit? Sure I would have thought it hard to narrow it down so far. I bet this is a fabulous book.

  3. 12.07.2009

    For me, Italy was an unforgettable experience — it is so true, it does embrace you and pull you into its beauty and the fullness of all that is Italy. What a great guest post and this sounds like a must read book!!

  4. 12.07.2009

    I have had such great experiences in Italy, we love the place, and have not been let down on any of our trips..I would love to win this book, but good luck to the winner 🙂
    .-= anne´s last blog ..My Great Friends Dawn and Tom….. =-.

  5. 12.07.2009

    Sounds like a lovely book. I am having a week’s holiday next year possibly in Italy with my three best girlfriends from South Africa – I think we need to know where we should go!

  6. Jill

    What a great post, this book is on my “to buy” list! Add me to the club in that Italy feels like home, and was for the last 13 years! It envelopes me in a way that no other place does and seeing as though I am a straniera, even if Italian at heart and by adoption, that lovely country allows me to find success everyday in ways I could never have imagined when I first went over in 1994. It’s certainly not perfect, no place is, but you take the good with the not-as-good and in that mix, I find perfection in Italy! Thanks so much for the contest, I hope you are enjoying your visit stateside!

  7. Karen Roseth

    Susan is so correct about Italy loving women. I fall into the category of Nonna. I spent almost a month in Florence/Chianti/Tuscany in 2007 and no one looked at me or spoke to me as if I were this crazy old woman. This was especially true in restaurants when I went on my own. Their were exceptions, but very few and far between. One restaurant in Florence and in a resort town outside of Palermo, a few years earlier. I was ignored. There was no problem if there were several of us.

    I tripped over a bench and fell at Santa Maria Novella and was immediately helped by a young Italian couple who needed to make sure I was OK. Bleeding from my pinkie, I found my way to the pharmacia where the pharmacist immediately gave me bandaids without my opening my mouth. What I appreciated most was the Italians’ (those who had no English) acknowledgement of my lack of Italian and doing everything possible to understand me and make themselves understood. Everyone was so nice and accommodating. I even liked the young waiter who took my arm and called me “Mama” as he showed me where the toilet was.

    I hope to travel to Puglia/Calabria next spring to enjoy the Italians once more.

  8. 12.07.2009

    We have always wanted to visit Italy, but honestly wouldn’t know where to start. This book sounds perfect for travelers like us, who are clueless. 🙂
    .-= Aimee´s last blog ..Winter Wonderland =-.

  9. carolyn

    I can close my eyes and “feel” Italy and I can smell the fragrance in the air just by thinking of Italy! No other place on earth evokes such feelings! I LOVE this psychiatrists prescription! Perhaps insurance will cover the expense as Melanie suggested above! I hope I win this book, but if I don’t it will be on my next shopping list at the bookstore!

  10. Catherine T

    I love Italy! And this book looks like a great read for cold winter days!

  11. what a lovely perspective! puts words to the feelings about life in Italy, and pin points some of the things that make it so……ya know! lol I can’t wait to read this!
    .-= Em from Ribollita Reboiled´s last blog ..Persimmon Dream =-.

  12. 12.07.2009

    That sounds like a book I’d love!
    .-= meredith´s last blog ..malade =-.

  13. 12.07.2009

    ‘Italy adores women’, I love that ! It’s so true from the babies to the Nonnas there will always be someone there who makes you feel special. This book is going to be an interesting read!
    .-= Scintilla´s last blog ..Positano gardens. =-.

  14. Oh! I’m definitely commenting on this one 🙂 this sounds like a great book!
    .-= Erin :: The Olive Notes´s last blog thanks in the carolinas =-.

  15. 12.07.2009

    To those who have never gone…just do it. Winter months are less expensive, but the Italians are so warm. Suggest to all…find a reliable travel consultant that knows Italy. They can guide you through your plans and make it problem free. For Tuscany, Judy Witts Francini is THE BEST!

  16. 12.07.2009

    “… because Italy loves women.”

    Brilliant. Love it.
    .-= Annika´s last blog ..pride (in the name of love) =-.

  17. 12.07.2009

    I’m a student and I’ve been studying in Rome this semester…I’m currently savoring my last two weeks here, and the thought of leaving makes me so sad! There truly is no place in the world like Italy, and I feel privileged to have had the amazing opportunity to live here for four months and become truly immersed in Italian culture.

    If I could move here, I’d do it in a heartbeat! Who knows where life will take though…I guess you never know what can happen 🙂
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Bucatino all’Amatriciana from Trattoria da Bucatino =-.

  18. Karen

    Wow! Please sign me up for a hit of that adoration! I haven’t been back to my ancestral home since I was ten (slightly more than a few years ago!) I am planning to head back and perhaps relocate there. This book would be a great head start for someone who has just begun to get her Italian- style mojo back! Ciao!

  19. 12.07.2009

    This is true… being in Italy has always made me feel so content. This sounds like a fantastic book, and if I don’t win it I will definitely be buying it!

  20. 12.07.2009

    My dh and I have been to Italy several times, mostly to the South. It’s not only women who like it there. My husband, who has not a drop of Italian blood in him, always mentions when we talk about it, that Italy to him just feels comfortable, feels at home there. And we’ve been around a lot!

    I think the therapist’s advice might work for men too!
    .-= Miss Footloose´s last blog ..EXPAT STORY: LITTLE KIDS, BIG WORLD =-.

  21. 12.07.2009

    Oh, so very true! Sounds like a great book!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..giggles =-.

  22. JoAnna

    Another set of great reasons why Italy and the Italian culture are bellisima!! Can’t wait to read the book 🙂

  23. 12.08.2009

    i’m in italy every year and love it. this book looks great!

  24. Nicole D.

    Please enter me! Thanks!

  25. As I was reading all of this, it suddenly made sense why we women love Italy — and why the doc would recommend an Italian vacation: Italians live, work, obsess over all life’s issues includinjg money — BUT they still take time for romance, for love, for beauty! And isn’t that all most women want? To be loved, to be reminded they are loved — and to be able to love themselves and someone else without feeling guilty! The Italians have learned to do all of that inspite of life – they’ve made it part of their life!
    Bonnie (valentinoswife)
    .-= Bonnie (Valentinosiwfe)´s last blog ..Advent Calendar Christmas Memories – Santa Claus =-.

  26. Imani

    Bella, I hope you are enjoying your time home even if you are missing P and your babies. There is always Skype, ya know. 🙂

    Not commenting to win the book. Really. But I have to say, as an American born whose father was born and raised in Italy, Italy is HOME to me. It is so true that I feel it in my bones and in my soul whether I am here or there.

    The first time I went at age 13, it was to my father’s home town of Falerna, and in those days, it was nothing like it is now. Still, I loved it! And now, I spend 4 months in the US and 2 in Italy and still love it.

    It’s not logical or rational…it is a FEELING of being where I belong even though I love the USA. It just doesn’t touch my soul the same way.

    Buon Natale!

  27. Barb in Minnesota

    Whenever I can’t sleep (which is often) I go for a walk through Rome, Florence, Venice, Capri, and visit all the churches, museums, gelaterias, cafes and bars that I remember. I fall asleep with a smile on my face. Italy isn’t my home….yet.

  28. 12.08.2009

    Oh I want this book! Maybe if I win, it will help conjure up a trip to Italy for me! ; )
    .-= Anali´s last blog ..Bay State Snow & A Warm Holiday Offer =-.

  29. 12.08.2009

    As much as I like France, I love Italy, each region is different, with its own food, dialect and scenery.
    .-= Esme´s last blog ..BBM: A Package from New Zealand =-.

  30. 12.08.2009

    I think that she has a good point, so many things about Italy feel like home–from the warmth of the people, to the delicious food, seductive scenary and gorgeous italian men! 🙂

  31. Josephine

    I’ve never felt more alive than when I was in Italy. I first went when I turned 21 and it helped me to embrace the woman inside of me and leave the little girl behind.

  32. Jacquie

    Is there a section on how to manage such a trip on a budget? Sounds like a lovely thing to do!

  33. Darcy B

    Yes please, why have I never heard of this Italian therapy?

  34. Linda D.

    Susan hit the nail on the head – Italy embraces women. It feeds my body with sensuous pleasure, it feeds my mind with art and history and it feeds my spirit with her wide open spaces of sea and sky and mountain and light. God, the light in Italy is glorious. Heck even the bad weather is beautiful when it mists through the hills and leaves the red tile roofs slick with rain.

    I’ve been to Italy in every season and it’s like coming home to a well loved friend – while the essential connections remain the same, the conversation is never boring. As Verdi himself once observed, “You may have the Universe if I may have Italy!”

  35. Gil

    I can relate to the comment about her grandparents dining room table! Only 100 places that every women should go in Italy leaves plenty for us.

  36. 12.08.2009

    I really want to know where and why there. As to the other subject, let’s have a discussion of its own someday!
    .-= Judith in Umbria´s last blog ..I have already burned all that wood =-.

  37. joanne at frutto della passione

    I think that I have been here just long enough to have stopped noticing certain things. Most of the women in my life right now are non-expats and I have started to see the world around me like they do. Reading all these comments makes me feel like I may be missing out on something, or I just need to get back some of the wonder.
    .-= joanne at frutto della passione´s last blog ..Lonza ubriaca, a drunken pork loin =-.

  38. 12.08.2009

    Another title for the wishlist! My love affair with Italy started when the love of my life first took me to his parents holiday home on the Amalfi coast in the early seventies. Since then many major events in our life have been celebrated in Italy, honeymoon, special wedding anniversaries and so on. It was no surprise then when in 2002 when we decided as ‘Empty Nesters’ that we wanted a ‘Life Adventure’ that the destination we chose was Italy.
    It was an easy decision, this was where we wanted to be. It was a long process but we eventually sold our home in England, put our possessions into storage and came out here in the spring of 2004. Having done a lot of prior research, Italy Magazine, Forums, Property Websites etc, we decided on the area we wanted to call ‘home’ The lake district of Northern Lazio, a beautiful and diverse region, lakes, mountains, sea and cities all within easy reach.
    We love the way of life and feel very blessed to be living here.
    There is a lot to learn about Italy and I have a feeling that this book would be a bonus to our explorations!

    Good Luck everyone.
    .-= LindyLouMac´s last blog ..Mushrooms, Toadstools, Funghi. =-.

  39. Italy is very sneaky. I came here for the first time 4 years ago.

    After that trip nothing was the same.

    Three years later (after several trips back) I quit my job and moved.

    Never been happier even though I still have the same big issues as before (i.e. broke writer)
    .-= nyc/caribbean ragazza´s last blog ..My own Top Chef challenge: Homemade Chicken Stock =-.

  40. 12.08.2009

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that Italy was in effect “an overload of sensual pleasures”. For me, it was just that and sensual pleasures were not high on my list of things to be addressed until I got to Italy.

    Italy forces you to experience her through every pore of your skin, every color in your brain’s palette, every scent, every sound, and every taste bud you have hanging out on your tongue. She forces you to examine every sensual pleasure available and you walk away with a new awareness of yourself you can’t seem to find anywhere else.

    That what makes it the home we’ve always wanted.

    Good luck to all!
    .-= Monica´s last blog ..Weekend Word to the Wise (Lodging) =-.

  41. 12.08.2009

    Well, if you keep up on the latest on our beloved prime minister and watch his TV stations – takes the whole ‘Italy loves women’ thing to a whole new level IYKWIM. 🙂

  42. Cool book. I’ve been seeing this everywhere. Consider me entered! 🙂

    Other readers/commenters, come on over to My Bella Vita this week for a chance to win other Italy-inspired gifts, Italian language lessons and more!
    .-= Cherrye at My Bella Vita´s last blog ..Travel Tip Tuesday: Traveling With Twitter (and a bonus list of Italy Twitterers) =-.

  43. 12.08.2009

    This book is on my wish list…it looks great. Thanks for the giveaway
    .-= The Food Hunter´s last blog ..And The Winner Is… =-.

  44. Lark

    I don’t have an ounce of Italian blood in me, but the first time I arrived in Italy I did feel home. I still don’t know how to explain the overwhelming sense of joy I feel when I’m there.

  45. SheBella

    I have never been to Italy, but am planning to bring my mother on a trip to Calabria summer of 2010. If I don’t win this book, I will buy it! Personally, I am brought to a happy-place when I think of my mother’s food, loving relatives and the love my parents had of their long-gone true home, Italia. My mother and father left Italy 50 years ago and never forgot or forgot to tell us of the love and warmth they left behind.

  46. 12.09.2009

    Perfect. Working on something now & it involves just these sorts of memories, stories. Exactly. I’m so glad that I went south rather than north, one November when I’d just turned 18. (An eon ago)…

    And yes, that is one smart shrink.

    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Christmas Pop Culture Quiz =-.

  47. 12.09.2009

    I love the idea of Italy as therapy. My husband and I go every year and the time there renews us both. We’re Italian in spirit, if not heritage, and always feel like we’re returning home. As a woman I’ve always felt comfortable there, but enjoy sharing our experiences.
    Sounds like an insightful book.

  48. Naga

    Fantastic post

  49. Debra Joan

    I love walking the historic streets and ruins of Rome and the shopping in Venice! The food is delish and the sidewalk cafes where we can stop to watch the Italians is relaxing. My 1/4th Italian heritage came out in me as I looked up at the sky and gave thanks for letting me be ME! I’ve not lived there YET, but I had a “flash” just two days ago of me living somewhere there, I can only hope it is happening sooner than later!
    I anxiously anticipate reading this new book! Ciao!

    Addendum: Ciao Bella, I spent seven days in Italy in the spring of 2007 and if that week can make me, a mother of seven children, feel as old/young as the oldest child, who is thirty-six, then I could happily submit to a move “home”!

  50. 12.09.2009

    Ditto! Everything Susan says in her post is the reason I taught a transformational workshop for women in Italy this past September. We were all so happy and at peace there. Can’t wait to read the book and return to Italy to teach again next September.
    .-= Lenora Boyle´s last blog ..Travel to Italy =-.

  51. 12.09.2009

    Sorry to be a downer, I know that spending a couple of weeks in Italy can be rejuvenating and you can enjoy the slower pace of life. I liked it so much I moved here myself! But “Italy loves women” makes me have to comment. There is a huge movement going on in Italy right now (written up in the New York Times here and other sources) based off of the backlash to this documentary: which shows (you don’t have to understand Italian to understand the images) the image of the Italian woman as portrayed on TV and also in politics here in Italy.

    It’s a great place for a vacation, but I struggle to imagine the possibility of raising a daughter here. The Venus/Madonna dichotomy is definitely in play, that is a very true part of the post. That means you’re rarely seen as anything else!

  52. 12.09.2009

    Italy *is* therapeutic! I definitely feel healthier there, not to mention more feminine and attractive 😉 Brava Susan!
    .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Italian Reading List – Part II =-.

  53. What a beautiful book! I am also innamorato with Italia & get there as much as possible. It is a country that needs to be experienced firsthand! Once my friends go they always come back and say NOW I KNOW why you love it so ; )

  54. amber

    Hm, You either love italy or you hate it!! I am struggling between the two right now!

  55. Cathy

    Susan says exactly what I feel – I feel alive in Italy! I love the colours there, the beauty, the food and the wine. I love the people and how I feel when I’m in Italy. It doesn’t happen in other places when I travel, so Susan explains it well when she says: “… we lose our minds and our hearts melt open….And then Italy embraces us.” I’ve been learning Italian so that, when I return once again, I can communicate better and feel more absorbed, more embraced, into life while I’m there.

  56. Jen

    I’m booking my trip and buying this book!

  57. 12.09.2009

    This book is on my TBR for 2010. it would be the perfect christmas gift to win! I’ve been to Italy twice, my family is from Sicily. Reading the book will motivate me to get my vacations plans going again and help me choose where to visit next. pick me please! thank you, Diana
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Santa sighting =-.

  58. I get the question ‘Why do I love Italy so much?’ all the time. It is a difficult question to answer because the feeling resonates in my soul though I’ve spent many a time trying. I wonder if it’s because people can see and hear the love I have for a country that I have no blood-related tie to and they want to know how they can capture that feeling too. I agree with the shrink, every woman needs to go to Italy at least once, I recommend it be by themselves the first time; you experience so much more traveling alone then with others.

    Would love to read about the 100 places a women needs to visit in Italy, I’m intrigued.
    .-= Linda @ Ice Tea For Me´s last blog ..swine flu paranoia… =-.

  59. Sharon

    Sign me up! Not just for the book but for the trip. I am going to Italy next May with my husband and 17 year old daughter. It will be our first trip there. We are extremely excited!

  60. Antonella

    Sounds like an interesting book! I’ve lived here for awhile now and I don’t think I could give a short answer to why I love it here or why sometimes living here drives me nuts! I guess time will tell…

  61. Amy

    I’d love to read the book! I love to travel!

  62. 12.10.2009

    I fell in love with Bella Italia 8 years ago! In fact year is still there!
    .-= Deb R´s last blog ..Faaaabulous Friday! =-.

  63. Ramona G. Monoskey

    i would love to visit italy – and the book sounds so interesting

  64. 12.10.2009

    Oh this post makes me so sad! Living in Italy has always been a dream of mine! Maybe one day, after I have a family and they are all grown up, my husband and I will move there!

    This book looks very interesting!

  65. 12.10.2009

    Sounds like a wonderful book… I wonder if there’s one for men!:)

  66. Amanda

    Wow, just 100? This book looks fabulous. The ultimate goal for my husband and I is moving to Florence for good. Can’t wait! 🙂

  67. 12.11.2009

    Precisely. I have no Italian blood of which I am aware, yet when I stepped off the plane in Rome I felt as though I had come home. I loved Italy – every city and town I visited. I want badly to go back and see the places I missed the first time, and I know I will not want to come home.

  68. Andrea

    Hi, I’m adding my two beans to enter the contest and let you know I sent you a Christmas card to your address in Italy. You can have P open it if you want, the picture on the card does not need any translation.

    Haha, will let him know 🙂

  69. Rachel N.

    On my first trip in 1963 I realized that the men all look like movie stars…what a delight for the eyes! But now after 46 years and double that number in trips to Italy, another realization has dawned upon me….all those women in all those paintings in all those glorious museums look just like me…OVERWEIGHT!

  70. 12.11.2009

    Did ever a man sing in the middle of Rom’s historycal city for you Summertime? Did ever a man pealed a fig for you, so the “hair” on it’s skin doesn’t tickle your toung? Did ever a man cooked dinners for you singing and dancing with you? … that’s Italy. It happened many many years ago and I’m sure I’ll be back some day again… The journey begun with 14 on the first tournee with my dancing group and than several visits for exhibitions, friends, “matrimogno’s” of friends… my own honeymoon and next year some art hopefully!

  71. 12.11.2009

    “Why do women love Italy?… because Italy loves women!”
    I love this quote.
    great reading.

  72. Irene

    The idea of this book is great! I’m from Italy and I never thought about all this love for women. But you might be right. You always need to look at things from different point of views. Moreover as I’m a travel consultant I will use it to give suggestions to my clients.

  73. 12.12.2009

    I can only dream of the day when I go to Italy for the first time. (And I believe dreams come true!) Can’t wait!
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Tis The Season =-.

  74. henry

    I plan on going with Debbie for the first time and cannot wait !

  75. Sharon A

    I am also Italian American and dream of visiting Italy someday. I enjoyed the interview.

  76. MariLouise

    Only two beans? Italy IS home for me. I regale everyone and sundry that I felt at home there the minute I got off that smoking plane–right down to the cellular level. I felt my DNA was called to this place. Really. I am Italian-American. 2nd gen. Mother’s side from near Naples. Fathers’s side from Santa Severina in Calabria. I love small-town Italy. I loved being a part of everyday life there. I stayed in a convent (for a short bit) and became horribly sick while there. The nuns called the doc–a pediatrician and a man in his 70’s–who walked up the 6 flights of stairs to my room. When I tried to pay him he refused–he said, “In Italy we believe everyone should have health care.” My 2 prescriptions cost 15 euro. I felt so loved. The polizia came to my rescue when the aforementioned convent gave me some financial trouble. None of them spoke English, but they would grab the nearest local to translate–even going down the street to a restaurant for the waiter who would passionately plead my case as though I was his nearest and dearest relative. My new landlady would always check on us to see if we needed anything, bringing us lovely things “just because.” Everyone would say “buon giorno” as they passed. A young waiter in my favorite restaurant told me I was beautiful (I’m in my 50’s!) and would give us extra large portions of tiramisu. Yum. A big ol’ tub o’ love. The art in every church of every size–large or intimately small–so accessible. It is timeless. I suppose in that sense we become part of that timelessness. Yes, women are loved in Italy. In America I feel transparent. In Italy I am part of a panoply of goddesses. I am valued. I have worth. Yes, more of that please. I am so in love. With Italy. Its embrace is unforgettable. I am so buying this book! Thank you so much for re-igniting my passion for home. I love this blog–you are awesome!

  77. Jennie

    I absolutely agree with Susan that Italy is made for women! She hits the nail on the head here and in her book– the best guide to Italy I’ve ever read. It cuts straight to its heart and is full of great stories and great vacation ideas. It works as a guidebook, but is that rarest of all things too, a great read. Sit back and enjoy, and drink in the flavor of Italy.

  78. Haley

    Italy is the kind of place where, once you have been there, it becomes a part of you and beckons your return… I love Italy, and I imagine that someday I may live there… It beckons like a beacon!

  79. kotryna

    I d like to read this book as I’m already impressed by the beauty of Italy and italians attitude to women. Italy is the nicest country for holidays and it really can make you happy.


  80. 04.09.2010

    I am one of those without a drop of Italian blood (that I know of!) but my best friend always tells people that I was Italian in a previous life. I am forever going on about Italy, reminiscing of past experiences, longing to return. I’ve only been there three times, but can’t wait to be there again. There truly is something amazingly welcoming about that beautiful country. I went alone to Florence for three weeks in Oct 2006, after a year of family illness and death that had left me drained in every possible way, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I was rejevunated, recharged, refreshed, renewed after my time in Italy. That journey did me far more good than talking with a therapist (although I don’t mean to disparage therapy, it too can work wonders, just wasn’t quite for me.)

    Anyway, love what you have written about Italy, and how women are drawn to it. You’ve really captured our yearning, head-over-heels love affair perfectly with your descriptions!
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Gratitude Friday…nature’s scenery =-.

  81. denise

    What a great reflection on the place of women in society. In September I hope to be oil painting in Tuscany, if I can get college credit and tuition reimbursement. Italy – what an exciting possibility for expressing passion and creativity. Susan – you’ve whetted my apetitite even more that it was. Thank you for your words.

    Thanks for visiting Denise!

  82. Susina

    Since spending my summer of 2008 in Tuscany, not one single day has gone by that I do not daydream, remember, reminisce and especially scheme of ways that I can go back there to live. Two years later I still get emotional when I share my experiences or look at my pictures of places visited. I truly feel as if I have left part of my heart in Italy. The part that longs for a simple and geniune life full of homespun friendships and sharing family meals and, of course, the family wine. The innocence and warmth of the local carnivals with the traditional dances and old-fashioned games. Susan, your words have resonated with me as I continue to search and analyze why the heck I am so in love with Italy! Thank you!

    Thanks for commenting, Susina!

  83. Paula

    Having never visited Italy but a soul’s burning desire to do so, Italy, for me, is a feeling…… A feeling that one gets when one begins to think about I-T-A-L-Y, even the name, Italy, resonates with that of a woman, and I want to immediately refer to her as female. Additionally, her food calls to the very core of comfort and love resonating with femininity. Italy’s culture eludes to its deep history, and ongoing ‘worship’ of women on all levels; physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Italian communication is open, warm, passionate, driven but still with heart…. just like women. Italy continues to graciously offer all of these signs as homage to woman’s souls, therefore we can not help but fall madly, passionately in love with every inch of of her being…. Gracie Bella Susan, Gracie….. I look forward to reading your book 🙂

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Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake