About Accidental Tourist

About Accidental Tourist

How do we explain Accidental Tourist?

  • It’s our first child! Born while we were expecting our daughter Eva who is now 26 years old;
  • It’s an invaluable inheritance that came with a humbling legacy: …that of opening home to strangers;
  • It’s a pasta making experience in a Tuscan family kitchen, and has been for over a quarter of a century…
  • It’s a stay in a century old villa on the Chianti hills

However – we dare to believe –  to many of our 35,000+ guests,  it has become something more meaningful..5

Accidental Tourist is Founded in 1998

Where we started

26 years ago, it was easy: the Accidental Tourist was the only pasta-making class offered in Florence!

Among the growing number of present offers out there, we are committed to staying unique  by offering

  • The privilege of small numbers…
    without the price of luxury;

  • The homey atmosphere of a real Tuscan home…
    without the language barrier:

  • The competence of 1/4 century experience…
    without the structure of an academy

What We Believe

Before you look into what we do, please take a moment to read what we believe in:
  • There is a difference between a tourist and a traveler; if you relate to the latter, we like you already….
  • Every visitor is different and deserves to be accepted and respected because of that: your religion, your political inclinations, your ethnic group, your country of origin, your gender, are an opportunity of growth for us and the people around you;
  • A fellow traveler is a great source of information!
  • Food, wine and real people are a most effective way to learn about a culture;
  • Accepting the passing of time and enjoying each season is essential to a good life;
  • Time, talent and enthusiasm are the most valuable and fairest currency we can exchange;
  • Money shouldn’t be but the byproduct of a job well done.
  • Plan well, then…improvise!

The History & The Story

The Property

Originally built to be a watchtower in 1146, in the XVII century this construction became one of the first orphanages in Europe…

Spedale degli Innocenti“: “the hospice for the innocents”.  

In fact, over a century since then, Innocenti is still the most common last name in Tuscany: a proliferous descendance of the innnocent orphans of the 1700’s.

Several history books tell about this building and the many purposes it served before becoming a farmhouse and a private residence.

Years old

The House

Our home is a large stone villa that dominates the village of San Donato in Collina, surrounded by olive trees and cypresses. Its central tower was built in 1146 while later additions were built in the 1400s, 1600s and 1900s.


It was later purchased by David Curiel, who died without heirs and left the building to the orphanage of the “ Innocenti”.

From there, it was purchased by the Carpi family, who then in the early 1800’sold it to the Paoli family, whose heirs still own it today.

Over the centuries, this building changed its purpose and layout many times: from watchtower to orphanage to farmhouse to summer home to single-family main residence, to condominium.

Nowadays all owners are still all family!  3 apartments are available to travelers. Check them out!

Our Family

First was Michelangelo who left the estate to his son Galileo, who left it to his son Rodolfo, Majla’s grandfather – an orchestra director and well-regarded university professor.

He lived here with his wife, 6 children, 2 aunts and a variable number of domestic helpers.

During WWII, many found a safe haven in this building, thanks to Rodolfo’s courage: he played double and entertained the Fascists and Nazis in his formal living room, while partisans, allied, soldiers and people from all paths and different nations were hiding in the tower. Total strangers found shelter and many lives were saved in this family villa. 

This place has been home to our family for 6 generations: Michelangelo, Galileo, Rodolfo, Giovanni, Majla, and now Eva and Giotto – our two children. 


Newspaper heading about grandpa Rodolfo Paoli:

“Half German, make-believe Nazi’s friend who saved Jews and Partisans”

Generations in our
family home


Since then, countless wonderful encounters; many have turned into friendships; some have become family. Our children are young adults …

New collaborators… 9/11… The 2007 financial crash… the COVID19 pandemic. 


We are still here.  


We cherish the memories, we always look forward to new guests. Meanwhile, we keep the fire going. And the wine flowing.


Our Team

We are so very lucky to have worked with people we love and look up to, and who have taught us so much.

Cristiana Romoli

Family friend, hostess, cook, unforgettable!

With us since the turn of the century!

Steve Woodbury
Steve Woodbury

Tenor; teacher

With us since 2005

Luisa Della Porta
Luisa Della Porta​

Chef, caterer, tango dancer

With us since 2017

Gabriela Hernandez
Gabriela Hernandez​

Art restorer, delightful hostess

With us since until 2020

Martina Tanganelli

Sommelier, world traveler, teacher

Welcome to the family!

Caterina Giovannini

Tour guide, superb baker (Gabriela’s daughter)

Emma the Pet Therapist

Pet Therapist

With us until 2021 

Calico and Snuske
Calico and Snuske

On-call pet therapists

With us since 2007

...and then there is us, Marco and Majla. 

Another long story...

Majla and Marco

Majla…that’s still me.

Marco… from babysitter, to First, to Long-lost, to Found-again, to husband, to business partner.

Our Friends

If you ever plan to visit Nepal, contact our friend Sanga! He is knowledgeable, expert, trustworthy, well equipped and friendly.

Our favorite charity project

Providing meals, shelter
and medical assistance
to the homeless

The Accidental Tourist reaches out to lower case​​.

You and we are the “upper case ACCIDENTAL TOURISTS”, the lucky ones who can choose the destination and duration of their wandering… and can set the date of their return home.

Lower case accidental tourists are those less fortunate, who leave without luggage, itinerary, a return ticket, or a home to return to.

After 25 years of making a privileged living by offering healthy food and cozy accommodations to curious travelers, we have decided it is about time to extend some of that warmth to those who can’t afford it, by supporting PROGETTO ARCA onlus, a foundation which offers clean shelter and hearty meals to homeless people.

Here is how we will contribute:

For every paying guest who sits at our table, we donate a meal to FONDAZIONE PROGETTO ARCA.

Simply, ONE TO ONE.       

meals donated
since 2018

Here’s What They’re Saying



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