While in Italy, live to eat with Giovanna's favorite cooks


Annalisa is a chef and culinary entrepreneur. Inspired by the influence of her grandmothers in the Sicilian countryside of Favara, she has turned a longtime passion into a fascinating life.

With a farm-to-table ethos steeped in the Mediterranean diet, Annalisa interweaves cooking, storytelling and even language learning, in environments ranging from private homes to contemporary art exhibition spaces. Her unique cooking classes include a series called Bimbi Chef, for children, and one that features a pistachio-filled, marzipan Easter lamb made from a recipe handed down by local nuns.

Beyond her own kitchen, her internet classes and a busy schedule as a guest chef and instructor throughout Europe, Annalisa has become an ambassador for local Sicilian food producers and their products through a collaboration with the Diodoros project. This vital organization supports bio-diverse preservation farming in the Valley of the Greek Temples in Agrigento, a UNESCO world heritage site also renowned for its almonds, olives, and protected black bees.

In 2021, Annalisa’s talent and creativity earned her the title, “Sicily’s Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year”. To cook with her is to go back to the classics, and forward to a sustainable future.


Headquartered in Bologna, Chef Cristina specializes in sharing “Italian Food for Foodies.” Through her company Food Nest she offers a fascinating variety of ways to encounter the traditions, skills, and subtleties of authentic Italian cuisine, (including in several other cities across Italy.)

Whether it’s a guided tour through Bologna’s fabulous local markets and artisanal food boutiques or a hands-on, deep dive into culinary techniques passed down through generations, Cristina will send you home with a unique, invaluable experience.

In her words, “you will go home not only with local products, but also new knowledge, skills, atmosphere and flavors.”

Most exciting, in Cristina’s kitchen, you’ll learn to prepare beloved traditional Bolognese specialties including handmade tortellini and tortelloni… and never again have difficulty remembering which is which!


Marcella, Master Chef, was born on Isola del Giglio, a small island of the Tuscan Archipelago and founded her school in 2009. She has over 30 years of experience in every aspect of Tuscan and authentic Italian cuisine and brings her positive energy and passion to teaching students of every age and at every level, from the home chef to the professional in training.

Marcella’s teaching celebrates the traditions and principles of classic Italian cuisine, using only fresh, locally sourced fish, meat, vegetables, and other local ingredients. Her school offers a wide range of classes, taught in two languages in a bright professional kitchen along the Arno, ranging from private or single-family lessons, where you choose the menu, to a small scale “open class”, where the whole group participates.

Private, hands-on lessons in Italian or English are three-hours long and end at the table, of course, enjoying the meal you’ve just prepared.

Small or large group, homemade pasta or your favorite Italian pastry, Marcella’s philosophy is to make every student feel comfortable and capable in the kitchen. In her classes, as she puts it, “Cooking is not competition, but is taught as what it really is, everything else—chemistry, nutrition, culture, history, health, sharing, beauty, necessity.”


If you appreciate cooking and style, I encourage you to meet my dear friend Odile, a dynamic Milanese woman with two passions: fashion and food. Exquisite taste surrounds her every activity.

For the past twenty years, Odile has held executive positions at Marni, a Milan-based international luxury fashion brand, working both in Italy and New York. Her sophisticated sensibility and eye for the latest trends, paired with her luxury brand expertise, have won Odile the opportunity to collaborate with Conde’ Nast, the prestigious magazine for highly discriminating travelers, (like you!)

When she hosts a delicious lunch at her beautiful home in Milano, her love for beauty, detail, interior design, and harmony in her surroundings are evident in every aspect. A superb hostess, Odile embodies much of what my elegant home city of Milan offers, and she’ll happily share it with you on your next trip to Milan.

“Food represents my culture, my heritage and part of my identity,” she says. “Cooking for my family and friends is an expression of love and care.” Odile is pleased to open her home and greet you as a guest at her table, or to invite small groups (1-4) to join her in her kitchen to prepare a hands-on authentic Milanese meal and savor it with her afterwards. Her cooking and graciousness are an equally memorable taste of Milan and not to be missed!

If shopping is high on your agenda, Odile also offers her services. After learning about your own preferences, she is available to guide you with expertise and finesse in enhancing your own personal style.


In Roman times, the area across the Tiber River from the city’s center was called Trans Tiberim, or “beyond the Tiber”. Today, it’s called Trastevere, and it’s the Soho of Rome–where for the past twelve years, Paola’s cooking school has flourished. Her kitchen and dining room windows overlook the piazza and the famed Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches in Rome.

From the moment Paola welcomes you, you’ll feel right at home as she generously shares her enthusiasm and deep knowledge about Italian food and culinary traditions. A former airline executive, Paola followed a childhood dream and adult passion, to attend a cooking academy and train as a professional chef.

Balance, she says, is the key to a good life and good food. It takes a balance of flavors, traditions, and innovation to create authentic and healthy dishes.

Her varied and flexible classes are all based exclusively on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The class called A Cooking Experience starts with a trip to a nearby market, where Paola and the class decide the day’s menu, shop for ingredients, then work as a team to prepare dishes from appetizer to dessert. You’ll also pop into a few of Paola’s favorite local shops, to gather ingredients for an unforgettable lunch.

Your time with Paola leaves you feeling as if you’ve made a new friend…based in one of Rome’s trendiest neighborhoods. (She’ll even send you recipes for everything you’ve prepared and enjoyed in her kitchen.)

Buon appetito!

Italy travel expert dedicated to opening the real doors to my native country, so that you may have a truly authentic experience… and fall in love with Italy as your own. In every corner of my Italy, I’ve sought out the beauty and the pleasures of its landscapes, cities, villages and people. Many are famous or popular, but many others remain undiscovered or rarely experienced. I know them all well though, and I’m eager to share my knowledge with you.

Contact me for more information about booking a spectacular and affordable small group tour or designing an affordable custom tour of your dream trip to Italy.

With love and gratitude,
Giovanna Chiti

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