Combining Mariagracia’s artistic talent, Ian’s passion for business, and our mutual love of Peru, we started hosting wine and paint tours as a way to show people a new side to Cusco. Our tours allow people to escape the busy city, and get inspired by the natural beauty of the Sacred Valley. We wanted people to embrace their artistic side for a fun and relaxed afternoon and truly appreciate their surroundings.
Born and raised in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, I always had a passion for the arts. Every since I was little I was always practicing different art forms. Painting was always my favorite. I was so lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful area that I was constantly inspired, by the architecture, the Andes Mountains, and the agriculturally rich lands that surrounds. Eventually I want to university to study tourism. I then wanted to find a way to link my passion for the arts with my new found knowledge on leading tours. I wanted people to be able to really appreciate Cusco’s brilliant sights and sounds in a relaxing and creative environment.
I grew up in New Jersey, but first moved to Cusco in 2009 to work for a non profit. Absolutely in love with the beauty and energy of Cusco, I’ve been living here ever since. I also was lucky enough to have met my wife, Mariagracia, here, and now we live with our newborn baby in the city. Having studied business in University, I always wanted to create a business I was passionate about. My wife’s brilliant skills in art and experience in tourism helped me come up with the idea for wine and painting tours. Back in the USA I had seen these sorts of tours become very popular. Except instead of painting studios, people were hosting painting nights in bars. We both loved the concept and decided that instead of bars, we would take people out into the beautiful Sacred Valley and let them be inspired by the nature that surrounds.
We are both passionate about the arts: Mariagracia is a painter and Ian is a musician. We both care deeply about social justice issues, and Ian works as the Program Director for the Alma Children’s Education Foundation (www.almafoundation.ca). We also love exercise and yoga, though Ian has accepted that he will never be flexible. Mariagracia is a big fan of dramatic novelas, and Ian a bigger fan of giant mugs of coffee.
We’re both travelers, so nailing down one dream vacation is a tough! We like to treat life as a vacation, enjoying every minute we can, even if it’s in our hometown. Here in Cusco, for example, we try to get out into the mountains as much as possible, to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the views. Someday, we’d love to get an RV and travel around North America, or even sail around the Caribbean islands.
Mariagracia has degrees in Tourism and Business Administration and has painted her whole life. Ian can drive a car and carry tripods.