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 23 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 nearly a quarter of a century…
- It’s a stay in a century old villa on the Chianti hills
- It’s a little online shop where we share what we eat, what we use, and what we love.
However – we dare to believe – to many of our 30,000+ guests, it has become something more meaningful…
Where we started
23 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 nearly 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.
The History & The Story
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.
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, who 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 there are 4 owners (all family! 2 Aunts – Silvia and Laura – and 2 cousins: Majla and Rodolfo.) We each have 2 apartments in the villa, and all get along great!
First was Michelangelo who left it to his son Galileo, who left it to his son Rodolfo, my 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 people’s lives were saved 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”
Since then, countless wonderful encounters; many have turned into friendships; some have become family. Our second child, Giotto, has just come of age…
New collaborators… 9/11… The 2007 financial crash… and now 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.
We are so very lucky to have worked with people we love and look up to, and who have taught us so much.
We so dearly hope to start working together soon again!
Family friend, hostess, cook, unforgettable!
With us from the turn of the century to 2017
With us since 2005
Luisa Della Porta
Chef, cook, caterer
With us since 2017
Art restorer, delightful hostess
With us since 2018
Driver, secretary, all things!
With us since 2018
With us since 2019
With us since 2006
Calico and Snuske
On call pet therapists
With us since 2007
...and then there is us, Marco and Majla.
Another long story...
with no rush
Marco… from babysitter, to first, to long-lost, to found-again, to husband, to business partner.
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 23 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.