Presto guides go through a rigorous evaluation process and are hand picked for their talent, spirit and intellect. In exploring an immense Italian cultural heritage, Presto guides boast the ability to present their subjects with an unparalleled finesse. Whether the subject at hand be art, history, science, architecture, food, wine, fashion, or design, each of our guides is in keeping with our philosophy that recognizes the importance of our role to advance your knowledge and enhance the quality of your time spent in Italy. In keeping with the theme that Presto guests are on holiday, our guides aim to introduce you to these subjects with excitement, humor and intelligence. We find that these ingredients combined with a distinguished knowledge core, is the quintessential formula to creating an outstanding learning experience for all travelers to Italy.
We hope you'll join us soon for a great touring adventure in Italy.
Sarah May is a Californian who moved to Rome in 2005 after completing her studies in European Humanities with a thesis in Jewish and Italian Studies. During college, Sarah studied abroad in her parents’ native land, Australia in Adelaide which is the closest city to Australia’s wine country. Whenever she had time, she would find herself in the vineyards getting to know everything there was to know about grapes and wine making. Wine became her greatest passion. Sarah was certified as a Sommelier through Associazione Italiana Sommelier Roma, in 2009.
When she returned to San Diego to finish her degree in photography, she started working in Southern California as a commercial photographer. She travelled in the meantime to Europe, especially in Italy where she eventually met her future husband, Ettore, in 2001 on a trip to Florence. While visiting the great art galleries and museums in Europe, she realized she wished she had a stronger background in European Humanites, so she decided to return to university in 2002 and completed her studies in 2005. Three days later she moved to Florence to study Italian in an intensive course before finally settling down in the Castelli Romani in September 2005.
Sarah lives in the countryside outside of Rome with her husband, Ettore (also a Presto guide) where they tend to their 22 olive trees, fruit trees, dogs, and cats. Meet Sarah on video
With nine years' experience working as a tourism professional in Rome, Ryan has given more than 3,000 group and private tours to tens of thousands of clients from around the world. He has read more than 100 books on Italy and loves his job - sharing what he's learned! He takes special pride in his skills for speaking extremely clearly, for storytelling in a way that brings art and history alive for 21st century travelers, and for helping people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy their travel experience.
Ryan's career in Italy began shortly after graduating from American University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Public Communications. His family had emigrated from the Naples area to Connecticut, USA (where he grew up), about 100 years before. His experience also includes three years directing tourism on a cruise ship on the Rhine River through France, Germany, and the Netherlands, but his specialty remains in the land of oil, wine and good living - the land of Italy. Meet Ryan on video
Raffaela was born in Newton, Massachusetts, and raised and educated in Italy. She attended The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, and earned a degree in painting and art history. She later furthered her studies in printmaking in a program at the International School "Il Bisonte." Raffaela Lan comes to the United States regularly, where she studied watercolor with the painting master Bernie Gerstner, who is a longtime member of the North Shore and Rockport Art Associations. She has held several private shows and had her work exhibited both in Italy and in the United States, including the Boston International Fine Art Show. For the past nine years, Raffaela Lan taught composition drawing, oil painting, and watercolor to American students attending their study abroad program. This allows her to share with them her expertise and love for Italian art and culture. Throughout her career she has participated in many art competitions and received several national recognitions. Although she returns often to San Donato Val di Comino, a small mountain town where she grew up, she presently resides and works in Florence, Italy.
The Swedish girl that looks Italian and sounds American, Mitra, was headhunted from the corporate world to be a tour guide several years ago and decided to give it four months. Two years later she sold her apartment in Stockholm and made Rome her permanent home. Many years later she leads tours not only all over Rome, but all over Southern Europe. From private clients, to groups, to students, she enjoys them all and encourages them all to interact with her on her tours answering questions and asking them right back. With a degree in Business Finance and seven years in an office, this corporate dropout did a 180 and got the equivalent to a Masters in Classical History/Art History. She also teaches Global History to middleschoolers in the wintertime at The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. If you ask her if would she do it all over again, she´d tell you she only wishes she got out of the corporate world sooner and to Rome faster.
When not touring, you will find Mitra either studying history ( yet despite all this she never wins at Trivial Pursuit ), riding, scubadiving or cooking with her Italian fianceé in the house with a garden they share with one Swedish and one Italian dog and the occasional very-hungry-for-basil garden snail. Meet Mitra on video
Giulia is a real Italian girl, who moved her life around several cities before stopping in Rome when she madly fell in love with it.
She is an archaeologist, with a PhD in Archaeology and History with a specialty in the urban landscape of Rome. She regularly takes part in urban, archaeological, fieldwork and academic projects aimed to research and divulge the past. She studies the development of towns from their origins up to the present.
She loves sharing the pleasure of living in and studying the city of Rome with as many people as possible, investigating together how this city, with its 3000 + years of history, grew and expanded over the centuries by recycling, transforming, and destroying its past. She enjoys walking with travelers and talking about history, archaelogy, and the human condition of then and now. She is also a musician, graduated as Piano player.
An Italian by birth, Federica grew up between Umbria and Rome where she attended classical high school and then continued with her very early passion for art history and at the "University di Roma Tre " where she graduated with a DL in "Comparative Art History of the European Countries." At the same university in Rome, she pursued a masters in Modern art history and is currently a PhD candidate with concentration in the delicate passage of the fine arts development in Europe between the XVI and XVII century.
Following her appetite for foreign experiences, Federica studied English as a second language in Dublin and then made her way to London where she earned a post graduate short master in Curating Art at the St. Martins School of Art and Design. After her studies there, she was presented with an opportunity to travel to the Balkan countries (Albania and Kosovo) with an Italian ONG. There, she was in charge of curating art and educational projects while also lecturing in universities on her chosen subjects. At present, Federica is an art curator and lecturer with various NGO organizations and Italian cultural institutes all of which keep her in close contact with a wide range of people and different cultural approaches. She considers guiding with Presto Tours the perfect frame for her passion for art history, the English language and the possibility to share these subjects in a pure international environment.
Presto's resident gourmand, wine enthusiast and certified Sommelier, Ettore, was born into a culture of food and wine from an early age. He is a native of the town of Genzano di Roma, in the countryside south of Rome, an area well known throughout Italy for its delicious yet rustic kitchen, frequented by every Roman at one point or another. Ettore is married to another Presto guide, Sarah, and together, when they are not frequenting the many wine bars of Rome, they are searching for hidden enogastromic treasures in the countryside of Lazio.
Ettore's background is very diverse. He attended liceo classico and from an early age was exposed to classical history, mythology, and philosophy, which gave birth to his lifelong interest in pre-Roman Italy and archeology. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Archeology at University Roma Tre . He lived in California, with his wife Sarah, for two years, and there spent much of his free time studying the wine and food he missed in Italy. He is very passionate about local food and wine traditions and their historical significance, and especially the food and wine culture of the Pre-Roman world. He is a passionate wine enthusiast and graduate of the Corso di Qualificazione Professionale per Sommelier and with plans to complete the rigorous Master di analisi sensoriale del vino. He was certified as a Sommelier through Associazione Italiana Sommelier Roma, in 2009.
Ettore is passionate about sharing the true treasure of his country, its food and wines, with people from all over the world. He is uniquely qualified to share his knowledge of Italy's food and wine with his educational background as well as a deep understanding of the roots of food and wine culture in Italy, as a native born Italian brought up in a food and wine culture that dates back thousands of years.
Ettore is available for the following itineraries: Colosseum & Ancient Rome Tour, Trastevere & Jewish Ghetto, Rome Catacombs & Appian Way, Ostia Antica, Rome Wine, Castelli Romani, Angels and Demons. He is also available to tour underground sites such as the Case Romane al Celio, San Clemente, Cripta Balbi, and Palazzo Valentini. Also for wine tours outside of Rome such as Montepulciano Pienza and Relative Wine Country.
Diana was born in Sicily in August, 1966 from a Sicilian father and an English/Irish mother (her mother, also a tour guide in Sicily is an author on author of various guides to Sicily and other Italian regions). Diana underwent Classical studies in Sicily and then moved to Germany to study the language, there she stayed a few years. Since 1983, she has been working in tourism, first as a congress and airport assistant, then as a tour leader on traveling tours in Sicily and now as a tour guide.
Diana, always inspired by learning, took several exams to specialise in tourism: tour leader, interpreter and specialised guide for the following provinces: Catania, Messina, Siracusa, Enna, Ragusa, and Agrigento. Diana is multilingual and gives tours in English and German. She worked 5 years for a travel and maritime agency as shore excursion manager for various cruise ships stopping in Catania. She then returned to her "first love," tour guiding.
Since the year 2000 she works yearly with Prof. Gaetano Cipolla of St.John's University New York. She takes pride in her work which includes the great honour of guiding for Her R.Highness Queen Mother, Her R.H. Princess Viktoria of Sweden, the Japanese Royal family and others. She has a twin brother who also works in tourism and an older sister. Diana lives in Acireale (between Catania and Taormina) with her boyfriend and two cats.
Antonella prides herself on being an authentic Venetian born guide living in Venice. She studied at the University of Padua where she received her masters degree. Antonella has a charming way of introducing the real Venice to Presto guests as an "old local friend" would do, guiding guests either on classical itineraries (for first-time visitors) or on customized tours according to individual request. Antonella ensures you that with her, you'll be captured by Venice and will leave wanting to come back to learn even more!