Who We AreVia Nissa shows you the « authentic » Nice, Provence and Italian Riviera by integrating you, the independent traveller, into the lives of local people. As we are not a professional tour guide or travel agent, we don’t take you to museums or major tourist attractions. Our excursions are with practicing historians, art historians, archivists with Master & PhD degrees - those who are not only recognized leaders in their fields but understand how to transmit their knowledge to you. We introduce you to local food through undiscovered local chefs. We visit events and festivals with local insiders who explain why they do what they do. We facilitate discussions with issues that matter, whether it be an explanation of local or national politics or religion issues by inviting you to sit down with real people who believe strongly in their point of view and share with you their side of the story. We open doors normally closed and facilitate your entry into unknown lives, the reason many of us travel in the first place.
Via Nissa was created by Robert Levitt, an American former investment manager whose travels during his finance career took him to more than 100 countries worldwide. Robert’s role was analyzing the impact of globalization on different countries through in-depth exploration of local communities which immersed him in various cultures, languages and religions.
Arriving in France in 2008, Robert began studying the local Provençal language, which led to him completing a degree in Patrimony at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis and then two masters degrees in Medieval History at the Université Lumière de Lyon 2 before launching Via Nissa. This bespoke travel hub offers locals, expatriates and visitors a profound understanding of the region around Nice, stretching from Aix-en-Provence to Genoa on the Ligurian coast of Italy.
At a time when the world is becoming ever more dehumanised, Via Nissa is all about humanising the travel experience. As we get older, our lives are less about material things, possessions, cars and the usual trappings of success and more about life-enriching and unique experiences. If you have a thirst for delving deep into other cultures, beliefs and architectural relics with people who feel as passionately as you do then Via Nissa is for you.
It’s about harnessing the spirit of adventure and authenticity through local knowledge and experiencing a more nuanced and layered experience that very few have access to. Gaining access to private, architecturally important nooks and crannies that are not traditionally open to the public, having conversations and a window on a secret world with historians and local experts who usually have little or no contact with the public. An immersive experience where you will learn the history and genesis of the festival, carnival or event you are attending from the people whose very ancestry is interwoven with that place or event.
Via Nissa is not about luxury or mass. It is aimed at seasoned travellers searching for a sensory journey of taste, feel and touch; a rare, unique and ‘under the skin’ experience.
When Robert moved part-time to the South of France in 2008, his interests in understanding the underlying culture led him to begin the study of the local language, Provençal. It was rare for a foreigner to begin the study of Provençal, but Robert felt it was necessary to develop the rapport with the individuals who were born in the region. This led him to the entering a French university, the université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis where he earned an undergraduate degree in Material and Immaterial Patrimony, which essentially meant the study of history, art history, architecture, literature, local languages, music and the ethnography of the region between Genova and Aix-en-Provence. Upon graduation, he continued his studies by obtaining a 2-year master degree in medieval history, literature and architecture at the université de Lumière Lyon2 where he wrote his thesis on a Provençal individual from the fourteenth century who became a famous military captain in Italy. Robert continues to devote a large portion of his time to his own active historical research and has continued his studies "Canon Law" at the Katholic University in Leuven, Belgium as well as working on his doctorat at the Université Lumière Lyon2 on the "Geopolitics during the period of the Avignon Popes."
Robert is responsible for the client experience as well as assessing the opportunities to be presented. Robert performs the historical research on certain studies that Via Nissa performs.
Evgenia is a native of Russia and a linguist. After having obtained her Master’s degree in Russia, Evgenia moved to the South of France and enrolled at the université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis in 2010 where she studied linguistics and simultaneous translations, which she performs through Europe. Evgenia specializes in translations in French, English and Russian and also is fluent in German.
Evgenia is responsible for Russian speaking clients and simultaneous interpreting during the visits.
Jean-Claude earned his Phd, in 1999 writing his thesis on « Étude de microtoponymie occitane: les noms de lieux des hautes vallées du pays niçois ». He is a professor emeritus of linguistics and local and regional languages of Occitan at the université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis and expert in all areas of Patrimony having created the Licence Professionnelle Développement et Protection du Patrimone which focused on the Protection of Material and Immaterial conforming to the UNESCO tangible and intangible cultural heritage program.
Myriam is a doctorate (PhD) at the université d’Aix-Marseille in Art History. Her thesis is being written on : « La culte et images de Saint Michel en Provence et dans le comté de Nice (v. 1450-1600) » : Myriam specializes in the study of Medieval and Renaissance religious art in the Southern Alps mountain region. She is also a specialist of Brea and the primitifs Niçois.