Who we are:
Our history and passion has always been to open our home to strangers,
to make our guests part of our family – if only for a short time.
In 1998 we created a cultural association that would allow us to welcome fellow members into our private home in Chianti in a more structured manner.
Our goal is to offer you a personal and unique experience.
When we started 23 years ago, it was easy: we were the only pasta-making class offered in Florence!
To stay unique among the growing number of present offers out there,
we try to be:
- too homey to be a cooking school,
- too worldly to be a typical Italian “nonna”,
- too friendly to be posh…
But wait! We also strive to be
- as competent as a culinary academy
- as rooted and welcoming as a pasta grannie,
- as attentive as a luxury establishment
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 can be a great source of information!
- Food, wine and real people are a most effective way to learn about a culture;
- Seasons are so important: enjoying roasted chestnuts and a glass of hot spiced wine by the fire in the winter and looking forward to the first fresh strawberries of spring means accepting and enjoying the passing of time, which is essential to a good life;
- Time, talent and competence are the most valuable and fairest currency we can exchange;
- Money shouldn’t be but the byproduct of a job well done.
THE HISTORY and 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.
This place has been home to our family for 6 generations: Michelangelo, Galileo, Rodolfo, Giovanni, Majla,
and now Eva and Giotto – our two children.
During WWII, total strangers found shelter and many lives were saved in this family villa.
Newspaper heading about grandpa Rodolfo Paoli: “…half German, make-believe Nazi’s friend who saved Jews and Partisans”
The Accidental Tourist
Inheriting the tower portion of the villa, connecting with Majla’s cousins Luca and Lucilla and respectively expecting our first child at the same time,
set the spirit for opening and welcoming strangers for a living.
In May of 1998 the Accidental Tourist came into the world; and within 4 weeks our first child Eva – 6th generation in our home – followed suit.
A new family is officially started!
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 — 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 work with people we love and look up to, and who can teach us so much.
…and then there is us, Marco and Majla. Another long story.
. . . . .1980 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2018 and counting
Marco: from babysitter, to first, to long-lost,
to found-again, to husband, to business partner.
Majla: wanna-be co-grandparent.
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.