Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

Golden Times Driving in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

View from our window in San Quirico d’Orcia…

Susan Van Allen's Italy, Val d'Orcia, Women's Tours ItalyOUR meaning me and my two sisters. We’d not traveled together since our days as Jersey Girls when Daddy would be at the wheel of the Country Squire Station Wagon and we’d go from West Long Branch, New Jersey to the beach at Cape May where the sand was LIKE AN ASHTRAY!
MANY years later, we rendezvoused at the Rome airport and picked up the keys to a gem-of-a- White Volkswagen from Auto Europe. What I love about this company is that they are partnered with the best car rental places all over Italy, so you get a range of choices for models, the best prices, and always great customer service. As we headed south to our home base of San Quirico Val d’Orcia, I started out driving–
20151013_103145190_iOSBut soon our roles became clear:
Older sister Pam, Driver. Younger Sister Patti, navigator, sometimes driver. Susan Van Allen, Auto EuropeAnd ME in back seat gasping and making sure we pulled over plenty to stop, get out, and take it all in.

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Having a car is key to discovering the Val d’Orcia, an area so beautiful it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Close to our San Quirico base, was the spa town of Bagno Vignoni, beloved by Romans in Imperial Days–AND it is said Saint Catherine herself took the waters there…
Susan Van Allen, Auto EuropeWe soaked nearby the main square at the Hotel Posta Marcucci==PERFECT stop for a morning of bliss…
Susan Van Allen, Auto EuropeA half hour drive away, we had decliciousness at the revered Osteria La Porta in Montichiello, where Daria Capelli reigns over one of Italy’s best restaurants. The ravioli, garnished with black truffle shavings is legendary.
Susan Van Allen, Osteria Porta, Auto EuropeWe drove over to the hamlet of Montefollonico to take a delightful class at Tuscan Women Cook, where we learned the art of making traditional pici=thick spaghetti from a local signora.
20151012_104802760_iOSWe visited the award-winning Casato Prime Donne winery in Montalcino. It’s entirely run by women and besides the fabulous Brunello wine, there is stunning artwork in the vineyards.
Susan Van AllenOf the many highlights, there was hearing the monk’s chant at Sant’Antimo abbey
20151013_110543370_iOSBuying the best pecorino cheese in Pienza…
20151016_143638787_iOSAnd joining in on the sunset passeggiata along the edge of Pienza’s wall:
THE BALCONY OF VAL D’ORCIA! Where those roads below beckoned us…


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Auto Europe, Susan Van Allen






VF1_1753Last November, Susan Van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, took a group of women to experience a Golden Week in Tuscany

It was Glorious!

“This trip was clearly designed by an artist–everything flowed along beautifully–a delicious, transformational experience of La Dolce Vita!”–Helen, San Francisco, California

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We stayed at Il Borgo di Villa Bossi Pucci, a half hour south from Florence…


Every morning a breakfast basket arrived for us to enjoy the view…

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Then we set out for adventures:


The Arezzo Antique Market, where the whole town is transformed with vendors filling the vias of the Medieval town…


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And saw amazing Piero della Francesca frescos


We toured, tasted, and had lunch at a winery in Chianti…

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And since it was just in time for the harvest, we visited a frantoio to experience olives freshly pressed



We indulged for a day of bliss at the luxurious Grotta Giusti Spa, bathing in the thermal springs,  treating ourselves to relaxing massages, and steaming in the natural grotta…

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We had an amazing time in Florence

“Fantastic! An great combination of busy and relaxing.”–Lisa, Chatham, Illinois


With masterpieces…


The Mercato Centrale



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Il  Ponte Vecchio…


We fell in love with Lucca,

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And in Pisa,


we discovered it’s not just about The Tower


Steps away are amazing frescos in the Campo Santo


The Food and Wine=Extraordinary!


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We even had a Cooking Class, where we learned how to make pasta…


“Amazing…All my passions were enlightened at each breathtaking stop…I recommend it highly.”–Rita, Estero, Florida

The Golden Week in Tuscany is custom designed for Women to have an Insider’s Experience of Tuscany, with Susan Van Allen leading, sharing her passion for this country she adores,  introducing you to her dear friends, and helping you discover Italy’s feminine appeals every step of the way…

It’s happening again: November 2-9, 2013

Trip Includes: 7 nights’ in lovely countryside accommodations, delicious meals, daily adventures, and more…

Price: From $3595 per person

Limited to 14 participants

Click Here for more details…

And Here for Susan Van Allen’s “Why Women Love Italy” You Tube