Context was founded by Paul Bennett and Lani Bevacqua. Before arriving in Rome in the fall of 2001, Lani and Paul spent a year and a half voyaging aboard Lucy, a thirty-eight-foot sailing ketch, making their way from New York City to Rome via Central America, the Atlantic Islands, and North Africa.
Paul is an award-winning writer for National Geographic and National Geographic Adventure. He holds an MA from St. John’s College’s “Great Books” program and has written four books for Princeton Architectural Press about architecture and landscape. When he is not helping run Context, he lectures on architecture and writes for several publications on travel, architecture, and design. His article about underground Rome appeared in the July 2006 issue of National Geographic magazine and was selected for the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006 (Houghton Mifflin, October 2007). His February 2005 NG Adventure article about sailing across the Atlantic was selected for the Best American Travel Writing 2005 (Houghton Mifflin, October 2006), while his article on global warming in Greenland for the same magazine recently won a Thomas Lowell Award (October 2007).
Before embarking on their cruise, Lani was an award-winning graphic designer and art director in New York City. She worked in-house for Artforum, Dance Theater Workshop, and Gartner Group. Her agency clients included Gillette, Compaq, Computer Associates, IBM, and PeoplePC. Her specialty was digital advertising and web animation. Along with being the creative director and designer for the Context websites and publications, she co-manages Context Travel and the Context Foundation. In her spare time, she is raising three small children and is the impetus behind Context's much-lauded Family Program.
Paul and Lani have three little girls: Stella (11), Cleo (9), and Jade (6). They were born and raised in various Context cities and currently live on a forty-foot sailboat. They are cruising with their parents in South America at the moment.
Petulia has been with Context from the start. Originally from Rome, she is Context's London manager and marketing director, and has always been a traveler: from rural Pakistan to New York City, she makes herself at home wherever she goes. For the past year she has been living in England with her husband in a fifteenth-century building in a small town halfway between London and Paris.
Jessica hails from Massachusetts and earned her BA in art history from Boston University. She got her first taste of Italian living during a semester exchange in Padova. She holds an MA in Renaissance studies from University College London, where her dissertation dealt with the development of Giulio Romano's early painting style in Rome. Her main areas of interest are Renaissance and Baroque painting and sculpture. She has been working with Context since 2006 and for many years was the regional manager of our Italian programs. Currently she works as our Expansion Manager, bringing Context into new markets worldwide. In her spare time she pursues her passion for photography.
Lily studied art in Italy and then in Paris for her BFA. Her love of art and culture brought her back to Europe after graduation, and she has made the City of Light her home for the last ten years. Her varied professional experience includes working in museums and art galleries in Canada and France, translating and writing projects, and teaching at the University of Paris and the French National Film School. Lily manages our France and Spain operations and spends her free time discovering the city's latest art exhibits, vegetarian restaurants and writing on Paris.
Carolyn joined Context in 2010 from the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she created cultural programming for over seven years. She is an Adjunct Instructor of art history at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and holds a BA in English literature and art history from Colby College, and an MA in museum studies from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Carolyn works in our Philadelphia office managing Context's programs in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as overseeing the client services team.
Born and bred in Philadelphia, Liz graduated from Boston University with a BA in the love of all things Italian (officially titled 'Italian Language, Art and History"). Spending a year abroad in Padova during university, Liz caught the travel bug and has never looked back. Based in the Philadelphia office since the spring of 2011, she currently is our Italy specialist within the home office. Outside of work, you will find her exploring the city, trying new foods and wines, and planning her next adventure!
Originally from Philadelphia, Sara joined Context in 2011 after teaching high school English in La Rochelle, France. Prior to that she worked in arts administration at the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Hollis Taggart Galleries, both in New York. Sara holds her BA from NYU, having studied French, art history, and psychology. She is the France and Spain Specialist in our US office.
Martina Dalla Riva
A native of Verona, Martina graduated in archaeology at the University of Birmingham (UK), where she is currently completing a PhD. She has worked as an archaeologist in Italy and abroad, focusing on prehistoric technology. She has also been involved in international projects in the field of archaeological conservation and public outreach. Martina has been working in the Rome office since 2011 and is our Italian operations manager.
Natalie was born and raised in London and Southeast England where she studied for her BA in social anthropology, and MA in environment and development. Having worked in the travel industry for a decade, she moved to Berlin in 2009 and, inspired by her adopted hometown, has since developed her career as a writer, specializing in sustainability, science, and the arts. Natalie joined Context in 2013 and manages our programs across Central Europe.
Sophie hails from New York and works out of Shanghai managing our Asia programs. Four years ago she moved to China on a whim and will not be able to leave until she has visited every country in Asia. When not working on furthering Context's Asia programs, Sophie writes about Shanghai's evolving nightlife, dining scene, and the city's contemporary art movement, and she covers the travel industry in East and Southeast Asia. She enjoys cycling and eating her way around Asia, one street stall at a time.
Originally from Connecticut, Whitney lived in New York, Buenos Aires, and Madrid before making her current home in Philadelphia. Whitney earned her BA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and since then has worked for several arts organizations in the Philadelphia area. When she's not working, she enjoys dabbling in an assortment of oddball hobbies, including singing in a Slavic choir, hula hooping, and learning aerial circus arts. Whitney has been with Context Travel since 2012 and currently manages client relations for our programs in Central Europe.
Lisa Marie Harchut
A Philadelphia native, Lisa studied abroad in Alicante, Spain during college and has been interested in travel ever since. After graduation from Harvard in 2011 with a BA in psychology, she jumped on the opportunity to live in and explore a world previously unknown to her - China - for two years. There she taught English to high school students and enjoyed many new experiences, including running the Great Wall of China Marathon and eating with chopsticks at every meal. In her free time, Lisa enjoys staying active in a myriad of ways.
Emily was born in London and raised in Oxfordshire before moving to Rome in July 2013. She graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in art history and then went on to complete her MA at Oxford University in the same subject. After working at a paintings restoration studio in London she decided to make her lifelong dream come true and moved to the Eternal City. Emily is our Italy Office Associate based in Rome. Outside of work, she enjoys taking photographs of her new home and writing about art and food.
Born and raised in Rome, Ramona Condò loves traveling, languages, people, and foreign cultures. Once she was introduced to Context she knew that she had found the perfect environment in which to make the most of her passions through work. She has traveled and lived in different countries, including a year spent working as an Italian Teaching Assistant at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, before coming back to Italy to earn her MA in literary translation at the Università di Roma "La Sapienza." After the experience of mentoring American students for different study abroad programs in Rome, as well as teaching and translating, she arrived at Context Travel in 2012 and is our Italy Docents Manager.
A native Philadelphian, Genevieve first fell in love with France as a little girl after learning that she shared her name with the patron saint of Paris. Upon earning a BA in French and American Literature at New York University, she crossed the Atlantic to work as an English teacher in a Parisian elementary school. After two years of teaching, Genevieve spent a year working as a bilingual coordinator in higher education at NYU Paris. In her free time, Genevieve enjoys baking, yoga, trying new French wines, and listening to classical music. She has been working with Context as Activity Coordinator since May 2013 and is currently pursuing her Masters degree at Université Paris Diderot-Paris VII.
Lindsay has loved foreign languages and cultures since she was young. As an undergraduate and graduate student she studied in Italy, France and England, earning her BA in French literature from the University of Notre Dame and her MA in Modern French Studies from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She joined Context in 2014 as the client manager for France and Spain after working in university and arts development. Outside of work, Lindsay writes about cities and architecture and is an avid runner and photographer.