Our TeamWe'll lead you on an Odyssey of Culture, Cooking, Food, Wine, Shopping, and Fun!!
M.A. Shute, Global Director of Fun
M.A. has traveled extensively, both personally and professionally. She understands and appreciates quality service, food, wine, and hospitality. Moreover, she is committed to ensuring all of our passengers experience the beauty of Tuscany, while having fun. Her team of experts provides insights into the food, wine and culture of the region. She oversees the planning and execution of every detail of the tour and ensures a superior level of customer service.
Roz Pactor, Special Shopping Consultant
Roz’s signature is her red glasses. Her 30+ years in the world of fashion make her blog, “My Red Glasses, a daily must-read for the person who wants to keep abreast of the latest fashion trends and where to find them. Whether it’s fashion week in New York, charitable events, or mentoring up-and-coming fashion and design students, Roz is always front and center. She is joining this special tour of Tuscany as our fashion consultant. She will lead us through Prada and connect us with Italian artisans she has worked with during her career. Her knowledge and charm promise to make this an extra-special trip.
Lawrence d’Almeida, Wine Consultant, Extraordinaire
Lawrence grew up in Paris, was educated at John Cabot International College in Rome, Yale (B.A. in History, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard (M.A. History). He worked in the wine distribution and retail sectors in the US before returning to Italy to learn winemaking at Kendall-Jackson’s Chianti Classico estate, Tunuta di Arceno. From 1998-2006, Lawrence was winemaker and director of the Chianti Classico winery Villa Casale. He then served as Executive Consultant to the start-up winery, Mozaik in Uria, Turkey. In addition to serving as a cultural and historical guide throughout Italy, he is the Wine Consultant for Silversea Cruises. Lawrence is fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German. By spending a day (or two) with Lawrence in the vineyards, you will leave Tuscany with a new-found knowledge of not only Italian wine but also the world of wine in general.
Monica Ruiz Ericsson, Tour Guide
Monica was born in Sweden where she graduated from the University of Stockholm with a degree in history. She adopted Italy as her home over 21 years ago and has been sharing her love and passion for Tuscany with visitors for over 10 years. As you travel through the streets of Florence, Monica will make the history of this vibrant city come to life as you learn where Michelangelo and the Medici’s lived over 500 years ago. You will also have the opportunity to see Tuscany through her eyes as you travel to the hilltop villages of Siena and San Gimignano, each filled with its own rich history and incomparable views. Even if you have traveled to Tuscany before, you will experience it in a new way.
Chef Luciano, Good Tastes of Tuscany
Luciano is a gifted teacher as well as a talented chef. His “tips” and “tricks” enable his students to personalize a recipe to create their own style. With a twinkle in his eye, he shares his secrets in a “to die for” kitchen at Villa Pandolfini, which was built in the 13th century. In a hands-on cooking class, students will prepare a five-course lunch which will be enjoyed with Chianti wine produced on the estate. The menu varies, depending on the season,but will include a fresh pasta course and focaccia. Students leave with a greater knowledge of Italian food and understanding of the Tuscan way of life.