Mario Piccinin, a native of Milan, is a graduate of the University of Bologna and is a certified Sommelier (Associazione Italiana Sommeliers) and Master Cheese Taster (Organizazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Formaggi). He has many years of hands-on experience organizing specialized Italian travel. Mario is also an experienced wine educator, and particularly enjoys the wine tasting seminars he regularly organizes for the U.S. diplomatic corps in Italy. In the past Mario led a seminar on Italian wine and food for the undergraduate students of Boston University studying in Padova. One of his favorite areas in Italy is the Valpolicella, famous for its Amarone wine, and frequently takes visitors there on vineyard tours and winetastings.
Rachel has been living in the Veneto since 1994, and is originally from Ohio. While working for the Boston University study abroad program in Padova and Venice for many years, she especially enjoyed sharing her passion for all things Italian with students and visiting faculty. As a lover of food and wine, she became a certified Sommelier (Associazione Italiana Sommeliers) and Master Cheese Taster (Organizazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Formaggi). Rachel holds a B.A. from Boston University in International Relations, and it was during her studies that she first developed a passion for foreign language and culture. Rachel leads custom walks in Venice and Padova, focusing on culture, cuisine and specialty shopping.
Mario, Rachel, and their two children live in Padova. They spend their free time discovering the charms of hidden Italy.
Giulia Bonati was born in Parma and she graduated in Tourism at IULM University, in Milan.
In Parma, Giulia could perfectly combine her two passions: tourism and Italian traditional food. She led tours for gourmet travelers, visiting production and tasting Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar).
She worked some years in Milan for an Incentive and Incoming Tourism Company, where she dealt with the professional organization of tailor-made travels all over Italy. She strongly believe that Italy has some hidden treasures (firstly food and wine, but also landscapes, handicrafts shops, architectures, traditional markets), outside the touristic beaten tracks, that are worth to be “tasted” by people from abroad.
Giulia is now living in Padova with her husband and her little son: she is glad to collaborate with Italia by Design sharing with Rachel and Mario the passion for food, wine and custom tours.
Silvia Is a graduated at the Venice University in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali and a guide of Padova and province, as well as of the Venetian Villas. She has years of experience in the tourism sector as monuments and art guide, moreover Silvia has managed and organized also art exhibitions and tours "ad hoc" for organizations, companies and individuals.
She lived and worked in the U.S. where practiced and improved her English.
"What I love most in my job is meeting people of different countries and cultures and the opportunity to show the great culture, history and gastronomy of the Veneto." Silvia says.