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SUSAN VAN ALLEN is the author of 100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go and Letters from Italy: Confessions, Adventures, and Advice.

Her 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 many 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 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.

To hear audio interviews, go to

26 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2014 7:48 pm


    I just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for a One Lovely Blog Award! I’ve been traveling in Europe for just over a month now and will be spending another 4 weeks in Italy. Your words and advice are awesome!

    • September 12, 2014 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much for the nomination! I am honored! Buon Viaggio in your travels among Italy, please let me know if you stop in any of the places we have mentioned!

  2. August 13, 2014 1:52 am

    NO WAY! my cousin went to west long branch high school we went to monmonth regional…we were over in eatontown…………SMALL WORLD FILLED WITH ITALIANS.

  3. August 13, 2014 12:23 am

    have always been curious, where on the jersey coast? i am also from NJ and this area

    • August 13, 2014 12:27 am

      West Long Branch to be exact! We went to the beach in Long Branch, lots of fun in Asbury Park too

  4. August 12, 2014 10:59 pm

    Hi Susan
    I just enjoyed reading your article in Taste of Italy. Very well done and what a wonderful magazine to be featured in.

  5. July 23, 2014 8:22 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks again for following my blog…what an honor….I have your book! (“100 places”). Love it! Anyway….nice to meet you, and look forward to reading more on your site, blog and everything! Buona serata! Diana.

  6. May 14, 2014 6:21 pm

    Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to reading yours.

  7. May 8, 2014 9:24 pm

    Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by and following my blog… als because this made me discover yours! I just read your latest “golden days”, and got fascinated from your description of Calabria, one of the few Italian regions that I (still) don’t know very well.I also liked a lot your good tips about food and lodging. Great source of travel inspiration! I’m looking forward to read more of it.

  8. May 1, 2014 6:53 am

    Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m having a good explore of yours now and looking forward to reading more!

    • May 1, 2014 4:23 pm

      Thank you and I hope you find some good information because I certaintly did on your blog!

  9. February 14, 2014 8:41 am

    thank you for following my blog! happy that you like it 🙂 what an interesting blog you have ! for sure will be back here 🙂

  10. May 18, 2013 3:51 pm

    Just heard about you and your work on Rudy Maxa’s radio show…fascinating! Thanks.

    Paul, Buffalo, NY

  11. October 29, 2012 2:45 pm

    So glad that I found your blog through Andi over at Once In A Lifetime Travel. Any lover of Italy is surely a friend of mine! Look forward to reading more.

    • October 29, 2012 8:43 pm

      I’m always grateful to meet another lover of Italy too–thanks for sharing!

  12. September 30, 2012 4:45 am

    that would be wonderful, another Jersey perspective!

  13. lee laurino permalink
    September 29, 2012 1:46 am

    i have read your book and am enjoying your posts but JUST noticed you are also from the Jersey shore.
    I am doing an extensive project on Italian Americans: comparing where their family immigrated from and where they grew up in the USA.
    I would love to include you in the survey! My family is from south of Salerno and their traditions are very different than some of the other IA’s i have interviewed.
    Hope you will consider joining in.


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