Golden Week in the Italian Riviera: For Women Only
led by Author Susan Van Allen
Saturday, September 24th to Saturday, October 1st, 2016
Join Susan Van Allen, author of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, for a Golden Week on Italy’s enchanting Northwestern coast—where quaint fishing villages, gracious old-world harbors, and the alluring city of Genoa have enticed travelers for centuries. From our base in the
lovely seaside town of Santa Margherita Ligure, we’ll ferry off to explore surrounding gems: splendid Portofino, charming Camogli village, and the medieval San Fruttuoso Abbey. We’ll discover elegant palaces and the fascinating labyrinth of alleyways=caruggi that make up Genoa’s historic center—the largest in Europe. Our day in the Cinque Terre—visiting 5 picturesque villages that cling to the rugged coast—will be a sensory feast of breathtaking views and sea-scented air
mixed with fragrant hillside gardens.
Day 1: Depart USA to Genoa, Italy
Day 2: Welcome to your Golden Week, with aperitivo and dinner
Day 3: Fun Cooking Class and La Dolce Vita Time in Portofino
Day 4: Discover Genoa, including Elegant Palazzos and Historic Shops
Day 5: Fall Under the Spell of San Fruttuoso and Camogli Villages
Day 6: Experience Extraordinary Cinque Terre
Day 7: Free Day to enjoy Santa Margherita and its surroundings
Day 8: Transfer to Genoa for your flight home
Golden Day 1: Saturday, September 24 – Depart USA
Today you will transfer on your own to the airport in time to catch the overnight flight to Italy.
Golden Day 2: Sunday, September 25- Welcome to Your Golden Week
Benvenuta! You’ll be met by our private driver at the Genoa airport or train station and transported to our
paradise-of-a-base for the week: the Hotel Continental in Santa Margherita Ligure. The views from
your room’s balcony will take your breath away: sparkling harbor, elegant palm trees, and wonderful town.
You’ll have time to relax, and perhaps enjoy the hotel’s private beach, pool, or spa.
In the evening we’ll gather on the hotel terrace to toast the Golden Week ahead. I’ll give you tips for your
travel journal, so you can create a treasured souvenir of the adventure. We’ll dine in the hotel’s restaurant,
enjoying the first of many memorable meals, featuring the traditional flavors of the region with a backdrop of
the sparkling, starlit sea.
Meals Included: D
Golden Day 3: Monday, September 26 – Cooking class & La Dolce Vita Time in Portofino
Buongiorno! Wake up and smell the caffe. Enjoy an abundant buffet breakfast in the hotel’s dining room with
mesmerizing sea views…get used to such extraordinary mornings for the rest of your week.
We’ll begin the day with a stroll down the hill for an orientation to Santa Margherita Ligure. The town’s
historic center is a beautiful mix of colorfully painted neoclassical buildings, a stunning Baroque church, and
delightful shops, caffes, and restaurants.
Then we’ll hop a ferry boat for a short ride to Portofino—a tiny, gorgeous seaside village that’s a choice yachtstop
for jet setters. We’ll be welcomed here into the kitchen of Chef Rocco for a fun, hands-on cooking class,
to immerse ourselves in Liguria’s extraordinary flavors, including making Genovese pesto. Lunch will follow,
enjoying the fruits of our labors. Then we’ll have time to relax in this jewel of a spot, strolling amidst terraced
herb gardens and shopping in Portofino’s legendary designer boutiques.
We’ll ferry back to Santa Margherita Ligure where the evening is yours to dine on your own, with my
recommendations. Choices range from lively pizzerias to chic upscale restaurants.
Meals Included: B, L
Golden Day 4: Tuesday, September 27 – Discover Genoa
The city of Genoa is a wonderland of fabulous Gothic churches, opulent Baroque and Renaissance palaces— all to be discovered on our walking tour of the historic center with Simona, our expert guide. There will be
time for lunch on your own, before we set off in the afternoon to explore the city’s fascinating
caruggi=alleyways, that are packed with historical shops—offering treasures from spices to chocolates,
finelinens, tableware, clothing, and beauty products.
Back in Santa Margherita Ligure, there will be an early evening optional journal writing workshop, followed
by dinner on your own.
Meals Included: B
Golden Day 5: Wednesday, September 28 – Experience San Fruttuoso / Charming Camogli
We’ll begin the day with a short ferry ride to one of the most magical spots on the Ligurian coastline: San
Fruttuoso. This secluded bay can only be reached by boat or hiking. The setting is dreamlike: sparkling
turquoise waters and a stunning 10th century Abbey which we’ll tour with our guide Simona.
We’ll continue by boat to the village of Camogli, that got its name from case delle mogli=”house of wives”, as
it was a fishing village named for the women who managed things here while their husbands were away at
sea. The soul of Camogli from days gone by remains—there are still many fishing boats, little shops where
focaccia is fresh-baked, and artisan workshops. We’ll have free time here for lunch, strolling, and shopping in
these enchanting surroundings.
In the late afternoon, we’ll ferry back to Santa Margherita Ligure, where you may want to have a massage or
beauty treatment at the hotel spa, and then a relaxing dinner on your own.
Meals Included: B
(Please note: In case of bad weather, San Fruttuoso may be inaccessible, and we will instead visit the villas
and gardens of Santa Margherita Ligure village).
Golden Day 6: Thursday, September 29 – Extraordinary Cinque Terre
The extraordinary stretch of coastline called the Cinque Terre (meaning five lands), is comprised of five
colorful fishing villages that cling to the rugged coastline, surrounded by fields and terraced gardens. With
our guide Simona, we’ll have an insider’s experience of each of these unique villages, meeting the locals,
traveling by train and/or ferries to see such wonders as the Riomaggiore castle, vineyards in Manarola, and
stopping to take in breathtaking views all along the way. Included in our day is a delicious lunch, in a
traditional Cinque Terre trattoria.
After this exhilarating day, we’ll transfer back to Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can enjoy the sunset
and dinner on your own.
Meals Included: B, L
Golden Day 7: Friday, September 30 – La Dolce Vita
This is your day to experience Santa Margherita and its surroundings according to your desires.
Relax at the spa, beach, and pool at the Hotel Continental
Explore the shops and villas of Santa Margherita
Guided hike in the Cinque Terre
Seaside walk to Portofino (one hour from Santa Margherita)
In the evening, we’ll gather for a Farewell Dinner at a harbor side restaurant, to celebrate our Golden Week,
refreshed and inspired.
Meals Included: B, D
Golden Day 8: Saturday, October 1 – Arrivederci!
Our driver will transport you to the Genoa airport or train station, where you’ll depart with Golden Memories
of our week together…
Meals Included: B
$4,090 per person sharing a double room
$4,690 per person in single room
The itinerary includes:
✓Entertaining hosting by author Susan Van Allen, focusing on Italy’s celebration of all things female
6 nights at First-Class Hotel Continental in Santa Margherita Ligure, with sea view rooms and
✓Private roundtrip transfers from Genoa airport or train station to Santa Margherita Ligure
Daily buffet breakfast at hotel
2 Multi-course dinners with wine
✓1 Cooking Class, followed by lunch in Portofino
1 Lunch in Cinque Terre
✓1 Stop in Elegant Genoa Caffe
Guided tours of Genoa Historical Center with whisper headsets, San Fruttuoso Abbey, Camogli
village, and Cinque Terre
✓Ferry, train, or mini-van transportation for all group activities
Entrance fees for Genoa’s Palazzo Rosso and San Fruttuoso Abbey
✓All gratuities for group activities: restaurants, guides, and drivers
Travel journal and optional travel journal workshop
✓Charitable donation of $20 to FAI (Italian National Trust), a non-profit organization that promotes
and protects Italy’s natural and cultural sites
The itinerary does NOT include:
✓ Meals not specified in itinerary
✓ Optional travel insurance
✓ Everything not mentioned under “the itinerary includes”
For more info about Author/Tour Leader Susan Van Allen: www.susanvanallen.com
Itinerary subject to change. If because of weather or unforeseen circumstances changes need to be made,
replacement events will be equally as awesome as above.
Activity Level: Bring comfortable walking shoes! The Hotel Continental sits on a promontory, about a 5-
minute walk to the Santa Margherita Ligure historic center and harbor. Our excursions will take us to
pedestrian only villages and the city of Genoa, where the itinerary is at a relaxed walking pace, with
breaks to savor the atmosphere. Ferry rides require precautions to be taken for those with motion sickness.
Early arrivals and later departures can be arranged at discounted hotel rates.