Leonardo Balli
President and Product Manager

An avid traveller, Leonardo Balli explored different countries across the globe but always returns happily to his hometown : Florence. Leonardo has been involved in different aspects of the travel industry since when he attended the Italian High School for Tourism. He lived in London for a number of his formative years and worked in several hotels and resorts and traveled many times to Greece as a group leader before opening his first travel agency in Northern Italy. He loves organizing culinary tours around Tuscany but he recently started to dedicate himself to the creation of new, entertaining bike and trekking tours. At Essence of Italy, he is responsible for contracts and hotel agreements and personally select Essence suppliers all over the country.

E-MAIL: leonardo@essenceofitaly.it
LANGUAGES: English, Italian

Elisa Pozzoli
Marketing Director, MICE and Groups Department Manager

Raised in Siena, Elisa got in touch with the world of travel and tourism by studying foreign languages in school . Her very first professional experience was at a tour operator and travel agency in Chianti , where she gained an excellent knowledge of local accommodation facilities and attractions, being nowadays a real expert of tuscan territory and atmosphere. Having worked both as a front office and as a back office employee, she has a fund of experience that allows her to organize unforgettable journeys also to less-known spots in Tuscany and Italy. In 1998 she became a qualified travel agent, becoming in 1999 staff member of an important incoming Italian tour operator.. Her passion for Tuscany traditions makes her one of the fiercest fans of Siena’s Palio! Furthermore, Elisa perfectly knows Italian food and wine: she is a wine expert and has visited the best wineries of the country. At Essence of Italy, she is in charge of the organization of special events and weddings, group tours and corporate and MICE travels. She has been personally taking care of corporate travels for important European companies; furthermore, she has been working with international TV companies in organizing travels in Italy for specific talent and reality shows. Last but not least, she has been collaborating for years with American and Canadian operators.

E-MAIL: elisa@essenceofitaly.it
LANGUAGES: English, Italian, French, German

Eleonora Bugetti
Italy Luxury Travel Specialist, Booking department Director

Eleonora was born and raised in the countryside outside of Florence, where she still lives with her family. Her passion for local traditions and interest in tracing her ancestors' biographies are part of her everyday life: she has worked on a special degree on the History of Tuscany at Florence University. Due to her deep curiosity and love for foreign languages, she speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently: she really loves travelling! Eleonora is also an accomplished singer and songwriter! She hopes to have the opportunity to help people understand that Italy is something more than a tourist destination: each town has an own story to tell through its art, its food, its inhabitants. Through her work she hopes to provide you with the essential instruments to be a good listener to these stories: you don't need anything more!! At Essence of Italy, she is specialized in looking for alternative, unique, exclusive tours and activities to satisfy even our most demanding clients.

E-MAIL: eleonora@essenceofitaly.it
LANGUAGES: English, Italian, Spanish, Portoguese

Alessandro De Marco
Booking Department

Alessandro was born in Fiesole, on the Florentine hills.
While studying at the French international secondary school in Florence he discovered his passion for foreign cultures and languages and shortly afterwards he started traveling around  Europe. Alessandro has always been fascinated by how territory as well as cultures and traditions shape people attitude, gesture and mind. His passion for spanish language and culture brought him to Granada,where he spent an entire year as part his university career. While in Spain he improved his spanish and got his university degree in Communication.
After coming back to Italy, wishing to share his passion for Tuscany and regional history with other people he decided to become a tourist tour leader in Florence, Tuscany and Cinque Terre, proud to show to people from all over the world the beauty of his land! One of Alessandro's greatest passions is sport, especially soccer  and in his free time he works as a trainer of a local children soccer team.

E-MAIL: alessandro@essenceofitaly.it
LANGUAGES: English, Italian, French, Spanish

Julien Tenconi
French speaking countries Product Manager

Julien was born In France but raised early in several foreign countries such as Japan, Morocco and Canada. This unconventional experience allowed him to grow up with a love for travels and intercultural exchanges, as well as with a perfect knowledge of French and English. Graduated both from McGill and Aix-en-Provence Universities, he decided in 2002 to go back to his origins and live in Italy. After several experiences in the hospitality industry from customer care to business development, he dedicates his work to the incoming side. He is also a great fan of Art, Italian Design, Gastronomy and Wine matching. At Essence of Italy, he is an expert in creating customized packages with an off-the beaten focus.

E-MAIL: julien@essenceofitaly.it
LANGUAGES: English, Italian, French, German