Who We Are


Patricia Parpajola

Founder and director

As a citizen of the world, Patricia studied abroad in different countries and lived in Southeast Asia, Australia and Central America working in the sales management of industrial and durable products, for over 16 years. Having decided to come back to her roots, Patricia relocated with her family to Turin (Northwest Italy), where both her mother and grandmother were from. Feeling a deep connection with Piedmont, she soon realized the endless potential of the territory and decided to invest her know-how to make it available to people from around the world.

A gourmet and food lover at heart, with a deep passion for Eastern philosophies, natural and alternative medicines, Patricia combines her passion for food and wine with nature, culture, history and regional traditions. She’s been also a yoga practitioner for over 20 years and her passion for genuine cooking was passed on to both her teenage children.

With TEC, Patricia promotes a way of travelling through the senses, creating strong connections between the people and their territory: Piedmont. Her multicultural awareness and extensive business experience allow her to quickly connect with the international experiential travellers and students, offering them a one of a kind experience.





TOMfoto2[1]Tom Johnson

Fine art

Tom Johnson is a visual artist who creates drawings, sculptures and live performances.
He is also the founder of the Fifth Red Department, a company providing academically rigorous art programs in Turin, Italy.
Tom has exhibited his work widely, participating in exhibitions at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Cambridge; MoMA P.S.1, New York; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; the Castello di Rivoli Museo per l’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; The Fondazione Merz, Turin; the Museum of Contemporary Art, St Louis; and the Sculpture Center, New York. He is represented in Turin by Guido Costo Projects and in New York by CANADA.
As a teacher, Tom has taught at the university level both in the United States and in Italy, most recently as the Chair of the Art Department at St John International University, Vinovo. Currently, with the Fifth Red Department and in collaboration with the Turin Educational Consortium Tom is committed to offering unique visual arts programs for international students coming to Turin.

To view Tom’s CV please use this link.
To view an introduction to Tom’s work as an artist and educator please use this link.





Walter DangWalter Dang


A French-Hispanic-Vietnamese cosmopolitan soul, Walter Dang is one of the most talented fashion designers in Turin and Italy today. His effervescent creativity and multicultural sense of aesthetics come out in all his works: clothes, accessories, jewelry, even his showroom.
Walter’s fashion career begins in French Haute Couture Houses where he worked with the great masters of style like Pierre Cardin and de Castelbajac, who noticed his remarkable creativity and sartorial skills right away.
In 2003, he opened his own Atelier to share his fashion philosophy: couture, luxury and pure expressive freedom used as tools to create unique, handmade pieces with refined details and mixed references.
Today, Walter Dang creates his collections only in his Atelier, in Turin, a friendly city with a strong international appeal, making it the perfect place to found his Maison. This is where his fashion philosophy takes form everyday without sketches or paper patterns, but following a working method refined by the experience, where fabrics, pins and mannequins can talk to people who understand their language.






Kristin-Ohlson-fbKristin Ohlson


Kristin Ohlson is the author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet (Rodale, 2014), which looks at the work of pioneering scientists and agriculturalists to develop management practices that respect and abet, not disrupt, the ancient partnership between plants and soil microorganisms.

Ohlson is an independent journalist who has published articles in the New York Times (magazine and newspaper), Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, Smithsonian.com, Utne, Discover, New Scientist, Cosmos, Gourmet, Eating Well, Experience Life, Food & Wine, Oprah, Ladies Home Journal, Ms, Preservation, American Archaeology, Wildlife Conservation, and many other print and online publications. Her magazine work has been anthologized in Salon’s Life As We Know It, Best American Travel Writing 2008, and Best American Science Writing 2011. She is also the author of the memoir Stalking the Divine, which won the American Society of Journalists and Authors Best Nonfiction Book Award in 2004, and co-author of the 2007 New York Times bestselling Kabul Beauty School.

Ohlson is a general-interest journalist, writing on topics ranging from proton decay to the pleasures of getting lost in Afghanistan. She has a special interest in writing about science, particularly in turning complex subjects into narratives that ordinary people read with relish.





alessandro_grellaAlessandro Grella

Urban, Architecture and design

Alessandro Grella has a PhD in Environment and Territory: Spatial Planning and Local Development from the Politecnico of Torino and is post graduated from Newcastle University in “European Spatial Planning”. He earned his Master’s Degree in Architecture in 2005 and has since collaborated as researcher with the Department Interateneo Territorio, IRES Piemonte and SiTI Istituto Superiore sui Sistemi Territoriali per l’Innovazione. Alessandro is a founding member of Izmo a non profit organization which works on participatory processes, local development and Izmade company which produces sustainable furniture. He has been (2011-2012) lecturer at St. John International University and from 2013 is teaching at IAAD, Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design, the “Institute of Applied Art and Design”.
His areas of research are Information and Communication Technologies in the planning and participatory processes. He continues to pursue his passions: urban design, architecture and design.




Valerio MinatoValerio Minato



Valerio Minato, a talented photographer, was born in Biella in 1981 and in 2006 he moved to Turin where he received a Masters degree in Environmental & Forestry Sciences.
Following his passion for photography which began three years ago, Valerio’s projects on Turin have been published on several websites, e.g. repubblica.it, iloveturin.it, vivaturin.it, torinotoday.it.
He is also the author of the second edition of a very popular calendar on Turin, Turin 2015, who has sold many copies. Through his lens, Valerio really captures the heart of his beloved Turin with talent and passion!

Facebook page

Luna piena che sorge su Torino (Youtube timelapse)





Fabiola_Palmeri_200x300Fabiola Palmeri

Born in Switzerland, Fabiola grew up in Torino and right after graduating in Philosophy from Torino University, she was ready to leave for Tokyo, Japan.
A professional journalist who, after years of words for La Stampa newspaper and NHK Radio Japan, is now back in Torino. She currently writes news articles and features for La Repubblica and, beyond that, enjoys life as much as she can.
In this era of “social everything” Fabiola Palmeri is becoming a real communications super-being, with a special way of looking at the global community.





officina38_FrubaAnna Frandino

Video and photography

After graduating in Economics, Anna was accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome where she received a Masters degree in Film Production. In the following years she worked in film production in Turin and Rome. Anna then moved on to work in the production sector of a prestigious publicity firm where she further developed and refined her skills in the management of audiovisual projects. In 2011 Anna decided that it was time to go out on her own, putting her hard earned experience to the test.  During that same time period she took advantage of her knowledge of time-lapse photography techniques to develop her first works in the medium.




Sandro-MinellaSandro Minella

Food and wine

A Turin native, Sandro started his career as a trainer in natural parks, until he decided to make a life-changing experience in Italian restaurants and wine shops in New York City. There, he also organized workshops and events with food and wine producers from Piedmont and he was attracted by the genuine passion that he saw in the local wine makers and their strong ties with their own land and its traditions.
Realizing how food and wine are the best way to bring people of different cultures together, and being aware that the best way to learn about a culture is to live it every day in first person, he decided to relocate in the Langhe, Piedmont’s ancient heart. Here he started organizing tours, tastings, and hands-on cooking and wine-making experiences for international food and wine professionals and tour operators, as well as foodies and… kitchen dummies.
This also led him to rediscover his own native town, where the aristocratic tradition of its old cafés is melting with the colorful kaleidoscope of flavors brought in by the recent migrations from all over the world.
Sandro is a professional tourist guide and ONAV (National Organization of Wine Tasters) member.