About Us

When Milanese DOCG (= true native Milanese) Rebecca Alessandra first met David Leibowitz in a Milan wine bar, she couldn't believe how much the Connecticut native knew of her land of origin, Northern Italy. 'So much to explore in such a short distance, in two hours we can travel from 15,000 foot Alps to the Mediterranean coast', he exclaimed, before spending the evening discussing the great diversity of culture, history, art, language/dialect, eno-gastronomy, and natural beauty of the Italian North, how so much can change from one valley, even from one hill town to the next. Rebecca was intrigued, 'How come this Yankee knows more about my homeland than I do?' she thought... and the rest is history: one sip of unique local wine at a time, Adventures in Northern Italy directors Rebecca and David have since then been busy uncovering the incredible splendors of the Italian North. Recently they were joined in their adventures by their son Ari Lapo, instancabile (tireless) explorer in his own right and quite clearly the gran capo (big boss) of the tour operator management team.

One of the most important company goals is to connect (or in jargon, ‘build cultural bridges between’) Italians and people from throughout the world, as Rebecca and David are convinced that notwithstanding communication today at the speed of light people still don’t really know each other. Stereotypes prevail, therefore, even between two seemingly close countries like Italy and the United States, and active, cultural tours may help foreign travelers and Italians alike to understand each other better. Another goal is to introduce the healthy Italian philosophy of life - that no matter how hard people work here, the main goal is to be with friends and family on a Sunday, enjoying a walk or lunch together. Finally, even in a short period of time, Adventures in Northern Italy wishes to present travelers not only with the most well-known (and certainly worth visiting) sites of a specific region, but also those less-visited, perhaps unknown to native Italians themselves. This is a rewarding task, and in the end fairly easy since tourists still tend to flock to the same areas of the world, leaving marvelous places nearby relatively untouched.

Rebecca and David are now studying to become sommeliers with AIS, Italian Sommelier Association, as wine is a great love of theirs, and the marvelous variety of wine and grapes in Northern Italy is also an excellent starting point for discovering a given territory - even beyond its eno-gastronomy.

Rebecca's and David's passion for the Italian North is shared by the other members of the team, including the following engaging city, art and nature guides:

Gabriele Basilico Young, Fresh and Dynamic… these are without a doubt the adjectives that best describe the photographic style of Gabriele Basilico. He’s definitely an optimist and he always try to see the beauty and happiness in everything that surrounds him. His way to live life with an upbeat attitude along with an extensive networking and an ever-growing list of satisfied clients, allowed Gabriele to start travelling around Europe and achieve in 2015 the collaboration as a photographer with VanityFair.
Now he’s based in Milan, but he’s always on the move between Italy and Paris, switching between weddings, events and lifestyle shootings

Lucia Sala & Tania Valli are a mother and daughter team from a tiny village situated in the hills above Bellagio, Lake Como. While Lucia writes books recounting lake history, customs and the lives of colorful residents, and has actually organized a cultural museum in her home, Tania is a licensed Como guide who expertly leads travelers to discover some of the lesser known but marvelous areas of her homeland. They love sharing their special knowledge with guests.

Federico Gaino has lived in Genoa since his birth in August 1974. He started guiding in the Liguria region when in university, fueled by his lifelong passion for hiking in close contact with nature and the splendid ways man has shaped the terrain in this region where Alps and Apennines finish dramatically at the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, man lived in harmony with nature, not against it, as testified for example by the thousands of kilometers of dry stone walls lining the Cinque Terre area. He became an official hiking guide for Genoa/Portofino areas 1997 and the La Spezia/Cinque Terre areas in 1999. In 2000 he achieved a degree in Environmental Science and he also works now for the Italian Government at ARPAL (Agenzia Regionale Protezione Ambiente Liguria - http://www.arpal.gov.it/), which is an organization similar to the U.S. EPA.

Daniela Grisoni has been a passionate tourist guide since 1996. She was born and has always lived in the region where she works: Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta, the town of Novara and surrounding area... she loves introducing these Italian beauties to travelers, above all to foreigners. If she has to choose a word to explain her passion for her guiding profession, this word is "curiosity". There is indeed so much to discover here, so much to stimulate the inquisitive spirit, from the rugged heights of the Alps to the verdant lakeside villa gardens, from rustic fishing villages to breathtaking museum-palaces.

Lorena Trevisan “I didn’t expect the city to be so interesting and beautiful!” That is what Lorena, Milan guide, always wishes to hear after leading a visitor to discover the highlights and especially the hidden beauties of her city. She has spent her entire life in Milan and, also thanks to her art-history background, she loves relating the city’s fascinating past as well as present status as fashion and design capital.

Marco Macchi has written a number of guidebooks on his home town of San Remo and surrounding region, the ‘Flower Riviera’ of Liguria. An engineer for the Italian navy, he has always been captivated by the combination of sea and mountains that defines his home, where the Maritime Alps quickly descend to the Mediterranean. He works as a cultural/nature guide for an Italian association and looks forward to introducing some of his favorite places to foreign visitors as well.

Daniela Bigatti is a Bologna native and city guide; she also leads tours in another famous art city just to the south of Adventures in Northern Italy ‘territory’ (ok, we’ll say it: Florence). Her passion is to share her knowledge of the history and art of these magnificent cities with visitors - she has a degree in art history, she taught in Italian high schools for a number of years and currently collaborates with several American universities as a teacher and guide for incoming students. Over the last decade, she has led numerous walking and eno-gastronomic excursions for travelers throughout Italy.

David Walthall A native of Mobile, AL David first came to Tuscany in 1996 to study with Dartmouth College. He has lived and worked in Italia for the past 16 years, completing an M.A. in Italian Studies through Middlebury College and the Univ. of Florence, researching folk music, teaching, cooking, and exploring.  An active singer, avid hiker, and train buff, David loves to share his passion for Italy with others!

Lisa Rubenstein Calevi holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in Italian Renaissance Art History from the Syracuse University Florence Fellowship Program. She has lectured in the United States at the Cultural Institute of the Italian Consulate and the Museo Italo Americano. In Italy, she has lectured for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the University of California, the University of Virginia, the University of Georgia, Syracuse University, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Museo di Castelvecchio. For 12 years, Lisa taught for Trinity College Elderhostel Programs in the Veneto while she made her home in Verona. She guides art and Jewish interest tours in Venice and throughout Northeast Italy. Lisa now lives in the United States, and works as an adjunct instructor for the University of Oregon.