Tours designed and leadered by our Experts
Immersive week ends to discover your passion
One day special moments within your passion
Hands-on: explore your passion with the artisans
Serving curious, impassioned and discerning travellers keen to explore our cultural heritage.
Our Artistic Team is made up of art historians, archaeologists, architects and experts from the creative and craft industries.
We believe in the power of beauty, culture, and art to spark joy and fulfilment in our lives.
We see every trip as a gateway to new knowledge, encounters, memories, emotions, and inspirations.
Meet our Team
About Us – Partners
FONDAZIONE COLOGNI DEI MESTIERI D’ARTE
The Cologni Foundation for the Arts and Crafts is a private non-profit organisation founded in Milan in 1995 by its President Franco Cologni. The Foundation promotes a range of cultural, scientific and educational projects designed to promote and protectarts and crafts. The “Mestieri d’Arte” and “Ricerche” book series (published by Marsilio) tells the history of this outstanding heritage, from its origins to the present day, examining both the great tradition of Italian creativity and new interpretations of contemporary craftsmanship.
The book series “Storietalentuose”, published by Carthusia, introduces children to the fascinating world of Italian artistic crafts. The Foundation also created the magazine Arts & Crafts & Design, published by Swan Group, dedicated to the excellence of the “Made in Italy” hallmark. The Foundation’s project “A School, a Job. A Road to excellence” actively supports the training of young people in highly skilled craftsmanship and their integration into the job market.
FAI – FONDO AMBIENTE ITALIANO
The mission of FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, usually referred to in English as the Italian National Trust) is twofold: to promote a culture of respect for Italy’s natural heritage, art, history and traditions; and to protect a legacy that forms a fundamental part of the roots and identity of the Italian people. Set up in 1975, the FAI is a national, not-for-profit body that has saved and restored numerous fine examples of Italy’s artistic and natural heritage and opened them to the public.
The Foundation operates with the support of individuals, companies and institutions. From the outset, it has drawn inspiration from the National Trust for England, Wales & Northern Ireland and is affiliated with INTO – the International National Trusts Organisation.
The Italian Tourism Startup Association was founded in 2013 to bring together leading start-ups offering products and digital services in the Tourism and Culture sectors. The result of a chance meeting between founders of tourism start-ups who discovered a shared desire to create a network, the Association now connects over 100 start-ups. Through promoting creativity and innovation and supporting the growth of digital start-ups, the Association’s goal is to boost the development of the national travel economy.
Managing Director / Product Designer
Elena Sisti co-founded Elesta Travelling Passion in 2014. Now a business consultant and mother of four, Elena grew up in Latin America and studied Economics in Italy. She completed her studies with a Master’s in NGO Management at the London School of Economics, then stayed on in London to work for a financial company and an economic think-tank. Following a move back to Italy in 2007, Elena began consulting and researching for projects in the worlds of finance and economics. With Beatrice Costa, she co-authored the book “Women Sustaining the World – Using Feminine Intuition to Change Economics”, which approaches the discipline from a gender perspective. The subsequent book tour across Italy gave her the opportunity to discover her country in a totally new way and deepened her knowledge of Italian art, craftsmanship, and its unique treasures. Elena believes in a sustainable approach to life and business. Together with a parents’ anti-pollution association where she volunteers, she won the Ambrogino d’Oro, a prize designed to reward civic merit. She now combines her detail-oriented approach and deep cultural interests to design new journeys and experiences that help travellers discover hidden “gems” in unusual Italian destinations.
Head of Sales / International Marketing & Client Acquisition
Sonia Brambilla was born and brought up in Milan but graduated from high school in the USA, before returning to Milan to complete her Business Administration studies at Bocconi University. She embarked on a solid, successful career in the fast-changing content media industry as a Marketing Executive for leading entertainment companies in the film & TV sectors. Strongly driven and with a proven ability to make things happen, she channels her passion for travels and charming destinations into her work at Elesta – convinced that many interesting, sustainable and unexplored ways to show Italian beauty and treasures remain to be discovered.
Head of Communication / Press Office
A graduate in Arts and Humanities from the Università degli Studi in Milan, with a specialisation in Art History, Anna Nosari is both a journalist and an expert in communications and press relations. She has covered a wide range of subjects within the travel, culture & design industries, constantly standing out for the quality of her content and texts. She has enjoyed long term collaborations as a communications and press officer with art galleries, the independent Italian tourist board Touring Club Italiano, cultural Foundations, companies and associations, and the Politecnico di Milano University, as well as working on a wide range of cultural projects for the Municipality of the City of Milan. As an independent journalist, Anna has written about cultural, art and design topics for magazines and publications, and collaborated in the creation and curation of content for major exhibitions promoted by the Salone del Mobile, Milano. In her current role, she has played a key part in communicating and highlighting Elesta’s unique and valuable approach in various national and international newspapers.
Born and brought up in Milan, Vonetta Veronesi has worked all her life as an able administrator, a role in which she can express her great love of numbers. Her greatest passions are nature and animals. Ultra-reliable and punctual, she is one of the pillars of the Company, where she helps creative minds stay in touch with realities on the ground. She enjoys and is proud of her role, which she sees as enhancing the past and present treasures of Italy, its history, traditions, art and nature.
PRAISE FROM OUR GUESTS
“We really enjoyed both tours. Our guide was very knowledgeable and easy-going – an excellent combination. The tours are of appropriate length. The tour of the highlights of Milan (Duomo and Brera) was a great start to being able to appreciate Milan, and the visit through the streets of Brera was outstanding. What I enjoyed most were the Bagatti museum and the visit to the metal designer’s atelier – union of history and vibrant modern Milan, really a great experience!”
[Three American Clients – June 2019]
“Good morning. The weekend in Bologna was perfect. Impeccable organization. Thank you very much.”
[A couple traveling with us – June 2019]
“Many greetings from the whole travel group, a heartfelt thank you for the excellent organization. Everything was really great and worked perfectly. You put together such a wonderful program for us!!! The hand-drawn cards were a big hit. Everything perfect, really great!!!”
[A German customer celebrates her birthday with the whole family between Vicenza, Padua and Venice – April 2019]
“Thank you again for organizing such a fantastic trip. I will never forget the magnificent ateliers I visited.”
[A client for an individual trip on Mosaics between Bologna, Ravenna, Rimini, Faenza, Spilimbergo – March 2019 ]
[Visit to City Life district, Milan – September 2018]
“Everyone’s happy. I was also positively impressed with the attention to detail, like the handmade cards. Thank you for everything.”
[An association of professionals – September 2018]
The tour was fascinating, the guide was well-prepared, kind and friendly. and taught us about sights, works and anecdotes that were unknown even to me, a resident of Milan for over 50 years. I was very satisfied and also the Chinese delegation appreciated the visit. Thank you for the comprehensive collaboration, especially considering the short notice we gave you. If we have a similar need in the future, we will definitely keep you in mind.
[An Italian guest and his Chinese customers – April 2018]
“Elena just had to let you know that we had the perfect guide today! Paola was incredible! She is sooo terrific in her knowledge and passion for everything Florentine! We cannot thank you and her enough for a perfect day. We also asked for dinner recommendations and got a wonderful one from her. We cannot wait to have our day with her tomorrow and just had to give her the very highest marks for a job so very well done. She is just the very best! Thanks so much for helping us have these great guided days in Florence. Will always pass on to any friends coming this way to use y’all. Many many thanks!”
[American customer in Florence, April 2018 ]
“Today’s visit to the archaeological museum was very nice and very interesting.
“A novelty for us, and not just for me, who have always skipped the archaeological part and never seen the towers. The nice archaeologist, who was our enthusiastic guide, made it interesting and fun at the same time with a very amenable style.”
[An affectionate group of subscription customers visiting the Milan Archaeological Museum – February 2018].
“I wanted to thank you again for a trip of a lifetime. You make it seem effortless, but it was clear to me how much research, planning and skill in execution went into our trip. My heartfelt thanks to you Elena.”
[An American tourist during the 7 days Mosaic tour – October 2017]
“Elena! I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful, carefree trip! It was marvellous! I will certainly recommend you to anyone going to Italy.”
[A group of American tourists during the Mosaic tour – October 12th 2017]
“Elena, you were wonderful and went above and beyond to help them, including on the Saturday when you were not scheduled to be with them.
“The trip went very well, so thank you for all your help and advice. I will be contacting you next time!”
[A group of American students in Milan, September 2017]
“Everything was great, Lauren is super happy. She didn’t know what to expect and being immersed in all this wonder was unique. It was not only the first time in Italy but also the first time in Europe: you should have seen her face when she saw the Duomo! The guide was amazing…even at the moment of the physical collapse of the two travellers, she made up for it with a wonderful Neapolitan coffee on the Via di San Maurizio! Elena Sisti is always right on target with her choices.”
[A small group of Americans guests on an itinerary in the centre of Milan with a visit to the Duomo and Leonardo’s Last Supper, July 2017]
“Everything was perfect! So thankful you were able to get tickets to see Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”! Our guide was knowledgeable and delightful!!”
[An American couple guest on an itinerary in downtown Milan with a visit to Leonardo’s Last Supper, May 2017]
“I had a wonderful day with Elena. The tour was very interesting and Elena was very kind with my walking issues. Crespi was fascinating and Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo was breath-taking! One of the most beautiful, fascinating churches I have been to see and I have seen a large number. Casual was absolutely lovely and the food delicious. Elena was a charming lunch companion. Your gift was very sweet. Thank you. I was very happy with all of your efforts on my behalf and would thoroughly recommend you and Elena Marchesi.”
[A Canadian client visiting Crespi d’Adda and Bergamo, May 2017]
“The hotel was a gem and the guide was perfect; we were also excited about the visit to the Cenacle.
[A couple who were guests on a guided tour of the Last Supper and the 5Vie neighbourhood in Milan, March 2017].
“The clients were enthusiastic about the tour and saw Milan from a different perspective than they would have with a classic city tour. They really enjoyed the stops and also got along very well with the guide who followed them.”
[Guests of a company at the “Custom Jewellery” itinerary in Milan, March 2017].
“Thank you so much for the guided tour today. Our guests are very thankful for the guides of both groups for their friendliness and the passion they put into guiding.”
[Two groups from a company visiting the Duomo and its archaeological area in Milan, February 2017]
“The visit was excellently organised and our Cicerone well prepared. He enthused us with his narration and also dealt with many other curiosities and questions.”
[A group of friends at the “La Collezione Claudia Gian Ferrari” itinerary at Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, January 2017]
“The visit to both the neighbourhood and Villa Necchi Campiglio was very pleasant and rich in content. The guide expertly answered the many questions asked along the way. Definitely a special experience, to recommend and above all to repeat, when we want to discover other areas of Milan.”
[A group of friends at the itinerary “Storie e Dimore: Percorso Architettonico” in Milan, December 2016].
“The architect who guided us did an excellent job based on to the brief given. The guys were happy and were able to fully enjoy the visit and – as far as you are concerned – the service offered was impeccable.”
[A group of Architecture students from the Politecnico visiting Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, November 2016]
“Alberto was an excellent guide, very prepared and passionate! He transported us into a world of poetry and history. Really beautiful! He managed in a short time to give a clear and exciting idea of the pictorial world in question!!!
“I found the exhibition very exciting and interesting…..and I say this as I usually don’t like Japanese culture very much. Alberto was great and made.”
[Guests of the guided tour of the exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan “Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro. Places and faces of Japan that conquered the West,” October 2016]
“I would like to express my sincerest thanks to you as a participant in this initiative. With sincere appreciation I would like to tell you that Saturday afternoon was – throughout – a real surprise.
The accompanied visit to the Bagatti Valsecchi house-museum was pleasant and interesting and allowed me to savour precious ideas about themes, curiosities and furnishings, missed in previous visits. The guide – in respect of the planned time – was able to maintain a high level of attention throughout the exhibition, responding thoroughly to the curiosities expressed by our small group.
Last, but certainly a real “treat”, was the visit to the shop/laboratory: a moment that opened my eyes to a world that was totally unknown. Real works of art being created by a craftsman from another era – true excellence that touched me in terms of the care and dedication I saw.
Congratulations to all. Hurray for these initiatives.”
[A guest on the “Historical and Precious Hides” itinerary in Milan, October 2016]
“The visit was very positive; I think first of all, you have found a very good formula, which allows a focused and in-depth visit even around the individual curiosities of the participants. The small group of participants enables you to have an almost conversational relationship with the guide.
The guide was a real surprise, very knowledgeable about the Bagatti Valsecchi palace and the Milanese history of the period. And for a Milanese like me it was very interesting, even the historical context.
The journey between the residence and the workshop was an opportunity for me to explore other corners of Milan, equally important.
Personally, the workshop was the most interesting part of the tour. I was struck by your proposal, since I was very interested in the manufacture of shoes by hand and with fine leather. I would say that I was fully satisfied.
So…..congratulations!!!!! excellent proposal”
[A guest of the itinerary “Historical and precious leathers” in Milan, October 2016 ]
“Hi Elena, We had a great time. I already knew that Milan was a beautiful city but now the others in our group know it too. Some of them were very surprised. They didn’t expect Milan to have so much to offer. I heard almost everyone say that they wanted to come back again. I certainly will. We loved the cycling. We always do a bike tour when we visit a city. It’s such a good way to see a lot of a city in a relatively short time. It enables you to cover much more ground compared to walking, but still see, smell and hear the same things. And you can always easily stop for a closer look or for a cup of coffee. We found Milan very easy to cycle around. Your guides did a great job. They are really nice people and certainly know a lot about the city. Their English is very good and they were very flexible. We are very satisfied with the way you arranged it. Thank you. I will certainly recommend you.”
[A group of Dutch people visiting Milan by bicycle, September 2016]
Thank you very much for providing us with an amazing tour guide today! Elena was extraordinary! My husband and I so enjoyed our time with Elena. We both felt that Elena enriched our experience beyond expectations. She is so knowledgeable and exudes a passion for art and the Renaissance of Milano.
Thank you so very much! Elena made our experience and my birthday one to always remember.”
[An American couple visiting the Cenacolo Vinciano, September 2016].
“The trip organized by you and Elesta was a totally good surprise (…). It was clearly the result of good planning and of course, it had also to do with the participation of the high level team that works with you. (…)
I am already talking about you and Elesta to all my friends and colleagues. I thank you very much for the precise planning and of course whenever I come back to Italy I will be keen to have you plan my trip…
Thanks a lot for everything, it was a great experience that will be among the best memories of my life. All my colleagues told me that I came back all fired up… it’s no doubt true – it was a fantastic adventure in a dream scenario….”
[A Brazilian lady travelling for 10 days between Naples, Pompei, Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi and Ravello, July 2016].
“It was a pleasure for me to join this tour after many busy days, and I enjoyed it very much. It was something new and unexpected – in a very positive way.
I don’t have any negative feedback to give, only positive. I liked how the trip was organized, and the guide we had was very well educated and talked clear and gave us good information. Not too much, and not too little. It was just perfect!”
[A Norwegian ICOM delegate guest on the “Four Steps in Silence” tour, July 2016]
“The tour in Milan with your agency was a highlight of my stay in your beautiful city. It was extremely well organized; your guide was competent, meticulous and inspiring. It was a privilege to be able to enter De Lucchi’s workshop! Thank you very much!”
[An Austrian ICOM delegate guest on the “Milan’s Love for De Lucchi” tour, July 2016].
“Your tour of de Lucchi highlights in Milan was one of the highlights of my visit to your beautiful city. Many thanks for your insights and enthusiasm. An excellent tour.”
[An Australian ICOM delegate guest on the “Milan’s Love for De Lucchi” tour, July 2016]
“I appreciated the tour very much. The equipment (wireless mic and headphones) worked well. The information which was delivered was great. I liked especially the Unicredit Pavillion and the De Lucchi Laboratories. But also the walk through Milan and the Casa Manzoni with its exhibition was nice. I liked the tour really and I recommend it also to others.”
[A German ICOM delegate guest on the “Milan’s Love for De Lucchi” tour, July 2016].
“We have enjoyed 6 wonderful days thanks to Elena Sisti and her firm. They made us feel special, by asking first of all about our preferences, background and objectives for and made a programme with tours and specialised guides around that. They consistently followed up and help us to feel very comfortable. No doubt we will keep in touch for asking their services again when we come back to Italy.”
[An Argentine couple guests on a six-day tour of medical history, including Bologna, Ferrara, Mantua, Cremona and Pavia, June-July 2016].
“I was thrilled with our outing, I talked about it with every person who came within chatting distance. Your organization was impeccable and the itinerary you chose surprising and exciting. The challenge at this point could be just that, to set out to always surprise and excite us at every encounter with unconventional choices, as was the case with this first itinerary. “
[A client at an itinerary at the Isola neighbourhood in Milan, June 2016]
“As always, on visits organized by you, everyone was absolutely thrilled. I was totally enthusiastic: the guide really brought me closer to Futurism and the exhibition. Without his explanations, it would have had only half its value for me!”
[A German lady at the Boccioni exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, June 2016].
“Yesterday’s visit was the best I’ve ever had.”
[A German lady guest on the tour in the church of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan, May 2016]
“Dear Elena and Elisabetta, thank you so much for the very efficient service on Saturday. Super tailor-made!!! The guide was great.”
[Guest on the 5 Ways tour, May 2016]
“Again, thank you so much for the visit: we enjoyed this very much, a real success! It’s great that you showed us the Milanese treasures!”
[A group of German ladies guests of the itinerary on the ancient families of Milan, April 2016]
“Thank you we had a wonderful day !!!!!! Niccolò is so happy!!!!!!
Thank you also for suggesting the end at the spa …. I had never been, they are beautiful!”
[A guest couple on the “From Pagans to Christians” itinerary, April 2016].
“We had a wonderful stay thanks to your outstanding organisation. The overnight stay could not have been better…like home…a wonder! The tour with the guide was very interesting and varied. He immediately understood our wishes and so we had a wonderful morning full of information. Lunch at the Camparino was wonderful and we were seated with a fantastic view of the Duomo. Thank you very much from all of us.”
[Four guests from Germany, November 2015].
“We had such a nice time and thoroughly enjoyed our time with Giovanna. She was so enthusiastic about Gio Ponti and his work and really wanted to give us as much information as possible and she did! It was great because not only did we learn a lot about Gio Ponti and his work but we also saw a lot of different neighbourhoods in Milan. We would highly recommend Giovanna as a guide and hope to return to Milan and learn more about the galleries and art in the area.”
[U.S. guest on the Gio Ponti Discovery Tour, November 2015].
“The day was truly wonderful! Sara is truly a special person and an art historian with a vast knowledge of the subject. The ideal guide for our small but demanding group! The timing of your organization Elena was perfect. The care and love you put into your work is palpable! This added value is invaluable.”
[Host of the La Milano dei Fiori itinerary, April 2015]
“Christian is very knowledgeable and was thorough and helpful, like an acquaintance you meet by chance and spends two hours telling you about something he is passionate about and you would want to hear more.”
[Passion Church visit guest, November 2014].
“Thank you for the very interesting and fascinating experience! And thank you for the impeccable organization, the result of a beautiful work of documentation and contacts: really good!”
[Fashion Tour guest in Milan, November 2014].
“Just a note to let you know how very impressed we were with the amazing tour you provided today. Not only were you incredibly knowledgeable but also so very attentive and thoughtful for the four hours you immersed us in the history of Milan. Suffice it to say you provided insights none of us will forget and all of us agreed Lorella qualified as one of the best we have ever interacted with in decades of traveling to many corners of the globe.”
[Two American families discovering Leonardo in Milan, June 2014]