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Origin Story

Context Travel was founded in Rome in 2003 by Paul Bennett and Lani Bevacqua, a husband and wife who landed in the Italian capital after over two years spent sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Once in Rome, the founders fell in with a network of scholars and specialists in their new city—a mixture of native Romans, professors, researchers, and visiting scholars—and formed Context as a means to connect those experts with visitors looking to build an in-depth understanding of the city.

From those Roman beginnings, Context grew up around the idea that local expertise can unlock deeper stories about the cultures, histories, and people that make a place tick. Now, 15 years and over 150,000 tours later, the only thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to that same mission.

A Context expert guide leading a garden tour

Mission, Vision, Values

We scour the globe for people with deep passion and knowledge of a place, time, or culture, and bring context to those stories through personal, perspective-changing tours.

Learning is our #1 core value. We are a company of learners. We operate with the belief that there’s always something to learn from a person, place, or experience. By connecting cultural travelers to experts in over 60 cities around the world, our aim is to awaken a passion for the ongoing pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

Context staff group photo outside in front of a lake on a retreat

The Context Approach

We believe that travel should be more than a consumption experience. We’re also sensitive to the effects—positive and negative—that travel has on local cities and populations.

From our beginnings, we’ve been asking ourselves how we can protect the places that we love while enhancing the experience of the people we serve. We believe that—done sustainably—travel can profoundly benefit both the visitor and the visited. We don’t take our responsibility within the travel industry lightly, and we are committed to spreading our specific approach to sustainability:

  • To exceed the minimum requirements of B Corp, the gold standard in sustainable business practices
  • To approach our cities with sensitivity and a dedication to understanding
  • To support the local communities within these cities, most notably experts who have dedicated their lives to the deep study of that place, history, or culture
  • To educate our customers on the current state and historical underpinnings of the critical issues facing our cities today, such as local politics, historic preservation and conservation, and climate change

In short—we aim to live up to our name: that is, to engross travelers in the why and how of a city by nurturing quality learning, meaningful interactions, and memorable conversations.

Like what you see?

We’re always looking for lifelong learners to join our team.

View Our Current Openings
Context employees at a local cafe in Lisbon while on a work retreat