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about Elaine

I am from Mississippi in the United States, got my  MA in art history and spent a decade organizing exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I moved to Italy for olive oil. For 20 years I have been living here, first in Sicily and now in Tuscany, learning about olive oil and local culinary traditions from my Sicilian relatives and from producers, farmers, home cooks and chefs.

I search for food and wine that reflect the territory and tradition of the place where it was made. I travel around exploring, finding my way deep into the boondocks of Italy to hunt out the artisan producers who make the foods that I like to eat, have a chat, tell them thank you and pack up my car with tasty treats to bring back home. I live in a 15th century farmhouse on the estate of a medieval castle. I love the beauty of the landscape and the nooks and crannies of the little ancient villages and stumbling on works of art that are still in the places for which they were made.


In 2005 I founded a sole-proprietor corporation called The della Donna Company that allows me to offer programs that have a bit of all of this. The idea is to provide you with the means to step into Italian culture by tasting typical foods and meeting the people who make them while enjoying the beauty, the monuments and works of art, exploring, learning, relaxing and taking it all in.  

In 2022 I founded my own olive oil label, Olio della Donna, I farm olives in Tuscany and work with farmers in Sicily to bottle super high quality olive oils with two different flavor profiles.

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I am president of The della Donna Company, Inc. and the società agricola Olio della Donna srl. 


I am certified as an olive oil taster by the Regione Toscana and as a wine taster by ONAV, the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori di Vino.

I wrote two guidebooks to the enchanting island of Sicily, see below. 


I lecture on Italian foodways to university students and alumni travel groups. I develop recipes, teach olive oil tasting seminars, lead guided wine tastings and teach cooking lessons.


I created a series of  virtual visits, it's a quick  trip to Italy to explore the culture through art and food.

I produce Olio della Donna  extra virgin olive oil.

travel. learn. discover. 

Culinary traditions and local gastronomy reveal the culture of a place. 

Food artisans give a dynamic voice to culture and tradition. Genuine producers are dedicated to working within their own tradition and territory to farm the land and transform nature's bounty into foods and wines with a strong sense of place.

I provide local access to hidden places and artisan food producers with custom itineraries for excursions and culinary travel programs  that enrich your travel experience helping you fully appreciate the culture through the gastronomy in the context of territory, history and art.


Top Ten Sicily, Dorling Kindersley, 2001+


Thomas Cook Travellers Sicily, 2011+


 Viking Life 

food magazines

Hachette Home settembre 2010

Una domenica vicini vicini

sale & pepe novembre 2012

Menu di charme in Toscana

sale & pepe ottobre 2013

Pie for dinner

sale & pepe novembre 2103


on the radio 
       MPB Deep South Dining 

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