Who We Are


Pam Mercer and Sam Hilt


Tuscany Tours is a small business that is owned and operated by Pamela Mercer and Samuel Hilt, a couple from Sonoma County, California, who now divide their time between the States and a small medieval village near Siena, Italy. Although they grumble occasionally about the endless road construction, the unfathomable bureaucracy, and the wretched plumbing, there's so much to love about Tuscany that they consider themselves very fortunate. They have two little girls, Siena and Emma, who've crossed the Atlantic more times than they know, and now speak fluent Italian with a Tuscan accent. Pam Mercer and Sam Hilt


Pam Mercer Pamela Mercer is originally from Oklahoma, attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and came out to California twenty years ago to attend Sonoma State University where she met her future husband. (He's the handsome guy next to her in the photo.) She has a degree in psychology and marine biology but says "all she ever needed to know she learned in her drama classes." She and Sam took their first trip to Tuscany in 1991, decided to change their lives, and led their first Tuscany tour in 1997. Currently, when she is not researching great restaurants, handling tour logistics or leading tours, Pam writes children's books and plays.


Sam Hilt grew up in Newark, New Jersey and was educated at Brandeis University. After that he somehow managed to spend another nine years in graduate studies gaining a Masters in Comparative Literature, another Masters in Psychology, and a doctorate in Renaissance Studies. Despite being severely over-educated, he has a reasonably good sense of humor and is often able to pass himself off as a normal guy. He has taught seminars in art and psychology at several graduate schools in the California Bay Area including Sonoma State University, the Institute for Imaginal Studies, and the Pacific School of Religion. He speaks Russian and Hebrew badly, understands very little Spanish, but is fortunately quite fluent in Italian (and French). He loves Renaissance art and is the author of A Morning at the Uffizi, a guide to Florence's greatest museum. Sam Hilt