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Susan Van Allen

Writer, Italian Travel

Location icon United States of America

Los Angeles based travel writer, specializing in Italian travel
Author of 3 books about Italian travel, including "100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go"
20 years of professional experience writing for TV sitcoms, books, newspapers, magazines, online, and promotional materials
Contact: [email protected]

Ambassador Magazine
Italian American Leaders Shine During COVID19 Pandemic

Italian American leaders -- The COVID19 Pandemic showcased the leadership of Italian Americans -- from Governor Andrew Cuomo, to Doctor Anthony Fauci, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Ambassador Magazine
Frontline Heroes

Profiles of Frontline Workers -- Heroes of the Pandemic

Tastes of Italia
Memories of Ravello

A delicious time at Mamma Agata's Cooking School in Ravello

Ambassador Magazine
Heritage Travel in Molise, Italy

Italian-Americans discover wonders when they return to their roots in Molise, an undertouristed region of Italy

National Geographic Traveler
Umbria, Saints and Artisans

A story to give travelers a taste of Italy's region of Umbria, focusing on its natural beauty, spiritual history, and tradition of artisans.

Tastes of Italia
New York's Real Little Italy

Arthur Avenue Food Tours gives travelers an insider's experience of New York's Real Little Italy

Ambassador Magazine
Puglia's Masserias

Discover Puglia's centuries' old farm estates, transformed to welcome travelers

Stresa: The Italy You Don't Know

By Susan Van Allen Photography by Susan Wright "Take a day trip on the Lago Maggiore Express. The journey starts with a train to Domodossola along the lake's border, then follows the Centovalli Railway through mountains and forests to Locarno, Switzerland. You return to Stresa by ferry."

Vatican City: The Pope Francis Effect

By Susan Van Allen Photography by Susan Wright Tourism is up in Vatican City as visitors revel in the popular pontiff's folksy spirit. At holiday time, Saint Peter's Square glows with an enormous Christmas tree and life-size nativity scene, and the Basilica's Christmas Eve mass is projected on outdoor Jumbotron screens.

Ischia's Sweet Nothings

Spa Story, about the pleasures of the island of Ischia's thermal waters.

The Truffle Hunt in Umbria

In the Italian village of Gubbio, a visitor follows a stranger into the dark forest seeking truffle treasure.

Ambassador Magazine
Sicily's Sage of Sweets

A quest to Sicily's Baroque town of Noto, to learn the secrets of the island's most famous dolce: Cassata Siciliana, from an internationally acclaimed pastry chef, Corrado Assenza

MICE Milan

Photo: Expo 2015 gate in Milan's Piazza Castello with Sforza Castle in the background © Ixuskmitl | Milan still basks in the glow from Expo 2015, the blockbuster international exhibition focusing on food sustainability that featured spectacular exhibits from 140 countries and attracted 21.5 million visitors.

Tastes of Italia
Memories of Rome

Roman native Elisabetta Ciardullo shares her culinary memories

Tastes of Italia Magazine
A Tuscan Family Farm

Enjoying a farm-to-table experience at a Tuscan family run agriturismo

Atlas Obscura
The Spicy Meat Spread of Calabria

From the region of Calabria, in the toe of Italy's boot, comes the fiery condiment known as 'nduja (pronounced en-DOO-yah). It's a spreadable cured meat, made of ground pork and pork fat, mixed with hot and sweet pepperoncini, the curvy, glossy red peppers that serve as a symbol of Calabria.

Atlas Obscura
This Scarlet Liqueur Is Sometimes Dyed With Insects

Alkermes is a syrupy, spicy liqueur whose bright red color originally came from an unusual source: the scales of the kermes insect. In modern times, the bugs have largely been replaced with synthetic dyes (a few insect-tinted varieties remain), but the striking spirit remains a colorful and flavorful addition to Italian desserts.

Atlas Obscura
Outside Rome, a Tranquil Abbey Turns Eucalyptus Into Liqueur

In 1868, Trappist monks moved into Rome's abandoned Tre Fontane Abbey and planted 125,000 eucalyptus trees to revive the swampy, malaria-infested property. The trees thrived, the disease disappeared, and a distillery was created to make a liqueur known as Eucalittino. One hundred and fifty years later, the tradition of making this dark, aromatic drink continues.

Atlas Obscura
The Easter Cake That Made an Entire Convent Neglect Its Prayers

Sicily's most elegant dolce is cassata Siciliana. The Baroque-style treat begins with a liqueur-soaked sponge cake, then layers on sweetened ricotta, pistachio-tinted marzipan, white glaze, and colorful candied fruit. The sweet is traditionally served at Easter, to celebrate the breaking of the Lenten fast.

Atlas Obscura
Meet Baloney's Decadent, Massive Ancestor

Mortadella Bologna IGP bears little resemblance to the rubbery slices of baloney that American schoolchildren pack in their lunches. The original bologna is a pink, watermelon-shaped sausage, composed of finely ground pork, chunks of fat, and an array of spices.

Atlas Obscura
This Wine Lets You Drink Like the Ancient Romans

Before Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD, its volcanic vineyards produced unique wines that the ancient Romans enjoyed at lavish banquets. Modern drinkers can savor the same flavors with the historic wine known as Lacryma Christi. Although its name translates to "tears of Christ," the wine's origins go back further than the time of Jesus.

Atlas Obscura
The Curative Flower Behind a Tuscan Abbey's Liqueur

Amaro di Sant'Antimo is a bitter liqueur created by monks in the Tuscan town of Montalcino. The liqueur's key ingredient is the Carlina acaulis plant, a thistle-producing flower with a golden center and silvery-white petals. The plant gives an earthy, artichoke-like taste to this digestivo, which is perfect to sip after a heavy Italian meal.


Becoming Italian Word by Word
5 Places in Florence Every Woman Should Go

I n this guest blog, Susan Van Allen, author of the bestselling 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, introduces five of her Florentine favorites: 1.


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