the team

rome retreats were born from shared passion for the arts, food, sustainable tourism, and countless years of work in the hospitality industry.       

Rissa Miller: Chef & Founder, Rome Retreats. Cordon Bleu-trained chef and food historian. After more than 20 years working in the restaurant and gourmet food industries across the U.S and Mediterranean, Rissa started Rome Retreats in 2016 to offer experiences to fellow food and art lovers utilizing sustainable eco-touristic practices.     

Johnny Madge: Tour Guide, Olive Oil Sommelier. Internationally acclaimed olive oil sommelier, local expert, naturalist and marble sculptor. When he is not traveling as a judge in global olive oil competitions, Johnny offers local tours and guided olive oil tastings. 

James Johnstone: Tour Guide. Award-winning historical walking tours guide, linguist, translator, story-teller and Canadian transplant to Sabina. Read his wonderful historical blog about Sabina here

Pino Ficara: Chef and Teacher. Trained Chef in French Culinary Arts & P√Ętisserie with over 15 years experience in NYC restaurants, his own catering company and professor of Culinary Education in Paris, London, Tuscany and the South of France.

Julia FicaraPasta-maker and Teacher.  Pasta maker trained in Bologna, with over 6 years experience. 3 years supplying Parisians & Paris restaurateurs as well as educational services in both France and Italy. Since 2016 Julia is working in Rome teaching Italians and foreigners alike, and brings her skills to Sabina for every retreat.


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