Cristiano Bonino is proudly 100% Italian from Turin, Piedmont and currently lives in Boston, which has allowed him to broaden his experience, “hybridizing” through the balance of two cultures.
For fourteen years, he worked as a personal financial planner in Italy, helping families manage their savings. From that experience, he learned how important it is not only to respect the value of money, but also, and above all, to care about the people he meets and works with through life!
Cristiano has enjoyed cycling for twenty-five years. In 2001, he started to guide, sell and design cycling tours, mostly in Italy, with an American company, sharing his passion with fellow travelers and helping them discover local foods, wines, culture and history from the vantage point of the saddle. Across many miles, Cristiano has honed his understanding of the cultural and traditional distinctions among regions of Italy, the importance of conviviality at the table, and the value of sharing the stories of our lives.
After moving to Boston (Somerville), he was surprised by the level of American passion for Italian culture. It has helped him little by little to grow his pride in his heritage. He is happy to live in the U.S. provided that life allows him to return a few times a year to Italy to reconnect with roots, friends, foods, wines, recipes, and the special atmosphere of a country that, given local differences, could be easily called the “United Regions of Italy!”
In November 2013, Cristiano pursued his passion for meeting people and learning their stories by founding Food.Stories.Travel.. A small tour operator offering educational guided journeys around the Medterranean, by foot or by bicycle, Food.Stories.Travel. focuses on local traditions, culture, history, and meeting foodmakers while tasting and supporting their works.
He still sees the bicycle as a great (and healthy!) vehicle for travel and, whenever possible, also scouts new tours this way.
With all her heart, Rachel believes that food is everybody’s business. With her MBA from Babson College, she built Food Sol, an action tank that lives inside the college and supports individuals to take creative action toward the changes they wish to see in the food system. She writes widely on food and agriculture. She designed and teaches a graduate-level course on the food industry and food entrepreneurship.
Before Babson, Rachel worked in travel. She has observed a range of food cultures across the globe and sees America’s hunger for a return to community, culture, and connection through food.
Rachel is married to Cristiano Bonino, the founder of Food.Stories.Travel. and has been advising the company since its inception in 2013. Whenever they can they love to visit farms, taste new foods, and spend time with animals in nature. For important strategic discussions they like to either run together or share a meal.
Davide Marchegiano has designed and led tours all over Italy and Europe for the last twenty years; he loves to teach Italian using games and songs, as well as to bring guests to meet his many friends across his country.
Davide loves hiking and everything with pedals and wheels: he’s been riding and racing bikes for 30 years, and he is a passionate mechanic, since he transformed his mother’s bike into a mountain bike, before they started being available in Italy.
His background is varied: he studied phylosophy of language at college, has been a boy scout master for many years, and served in the army as an officer of the Alpine Troops.
After living in Tuscany for a few years, he moved back to his hometown of Ivrea, in Piedmont.
Given Davide’s knowledge of Italy, you might find him guiding our tours in Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily, Trentino and Alto Adige/South Tyrol.
In 1996, Suzie left California and a professional volleyball career to move to Italy. There, she discovered her passion for road cycling and la dolce vita, and she has been living her Tuscan dream ever since.
Her home in the Chianti area is near Gaiole, headquarters of L’Eroica, the beloved, heritage Italian cycling event featuring vintage clothing and bicycles, and routes over gravel roads. Suzie rode her first L’Eroica in 2008, and has participated every year since. She enjoys being challenged on long-distance, multi-day cycling events as well: In 2011, she completed the 745-mile Paris-Brest-Paris amateur ride in less than 69 hours, totally self-supported.
Suzie can often be found out on her bike taking in the beauty of the rolling hills of Chianti. “There is nothing I enjoy more than showing people the scenery I fell in love with when I first came here,” she says. Her deep insider knowledge of the region stems from a two-decade-long love affair with Tuscany.
Suzie has traveled all over Italy, and beyond. A freelance, she currently guides journeys for other companies as well as for us. Wherever she leads, Suzie’s infectious enthusiasm for cycling and Italy infuses the experience.
Andrea is many things: A professional drummer, a bicycle mechanic, an entrepreneur, a tour guide, and a Slow Food aficionado. He is also deeply enamoured with his home region of Liguria and dedicated to helping you discover its wonders for yourself.
To travel with Andrea is to see the real Liguria. He may take you down the tiniest alley just to sit on a stone bench and chat with a local cravé (“goat shepherd” in local dialect), while savoring a little-known sweet wine made from the Pigato grape and maybe a slice of Toma di Brigasca (ewe milk cheese from a local breed of sheep) drizzled with the heavenly honey of the world-famous Ligurian bees. In all things, Andrea is committed to sustainability, authenticity, care for the environment, and a good, clean, and fair (the Slow Food motto) approach to life and tourism.
With family from both South Tyrol and Liguria, Andrea is a mix of two very cultures, German and northern Italian. He speaks fluent German, Italian, and English, after years living and working as a musician in New York City. From his hometown of Alassio, Andrea enjoys year-round riding in the temperate climes of Liguria and, off the bike, plays drums in several local bands.
Andrea brings twenty years of experience as a trip designer and leader. He is a freelance guide of tours both by bicycle and on foot. He works with us and with other operators.
Milena is an infectious mix of determination and professionalism, adventure and enthusiasm. A guide for over 10 years, her enthusiasm for Italy and its traditions is boundless. She loves to taste and traverse all the regions of Italy, not to mention the wider world. Milena has been mountain-biking in Mongolia and the Canadian Rockies, and backpacked across Ecuador and Peru. (Ask her to share some of her most hair-raising travel tales!)
Born in Emilia-Romagna, Milena always delights in coming home to her roots and family, and in sharing the unique and memorable aspects of her region. ‘Emiliana’ through and through, her local food and wine traditions—celebrated all over Italy and by gastronomes around the world— are close to her heart.
Beyond her passionate work as a travel guide, Milena is also an air traffic controller! Those skills served her well as a Logistics Coordinator for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin. Currently, Milena splits her professional time between directing Happy Trail MTB (a cycling touring agency, non-profit association and school for adults and children), leading tours with Food.Stories.Travel. and other tour operators, and air traffic controlling for Bologna Airport.
As if that weren’t enough, Milena is a triathlete and mountain-bike racer. She loves to trek or run in the mountains around her home. Clearly passionate for the outdoors, Milena is committed to activities that involve sustainable travel, healthy lifestyle and exploring landscapes with respect for the environment. (The wild parts of Emilia-Romagna are a nature-lover’s paradise.) She also keeps a small garden.
Alessandro Allegro received his first bicycle before the age of six, and his passion for cycling hasn’t waned since. After a short racing career, he found his joy as a guide. Alessandro has led more than 170 tours all over southern Europe, primarily in Italy, Spain, France, and Croatia.
As a child, Alessandro dreamt of studying astronomy. These days, his top loves are history, wine, and languages. He speaks English, Spanish, French, and Italian fluently, and enjoys learning new ones. Right now, he’s working on his German and Croatian!
Alessandro loves recreational riding, best of all when combined with a nice coffee and pastry. Occasionally, still likes to don a bib number and race, as he has done on the amateur version of Tour of Flanders, the Maratona dles Dolomites, Strade Bianche and several cyclocross events in Italy.
Off the bike, you may find Alessandro in the garden, cooking, hiking, or skiing. He splits his time between his hometown near Gavi, in Piedmont, and the south of Spain, in Valencia. Given his deep knowledge and love of both Italy and Spain, it’s no surprise that his favorite regions in which to lead tours are Piedmont, Puglia, Catalonia, and Mallorca.
When asked to name his greatest wish, Alessandro replied, “A world with fewer cars and more bicycles.”
Alessandro is a freelance guide who leads journeys both by bicycle and on foot for us as well as for other tour operators.