The owner of VinoRoma, Maurizio Di Franco, who is holding a bottle of wine and describing it to members while leading a tasting.

Maurizio Di Franco

Maurizio is the owner of VinoRoma, a certified sommelier and member of AIS.

He was raised in Phoenix, Arizona by Italian-born parents. He spent much of his youth working in his family’s restaurant, which first opened his eyes to the traditional foods of Italy and the wines that they pair so perfectly with. At university, he studied Italian language and culture and it was during a semester abroad in Florence when he fell in love with the Italian way of life and one Italian in particular: his wife, Paola. In 2009, he moved to Rome to study wine and food and he never left. Having completed his sommelier education with the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS), he went on to work with Hande Leimer at VinoRoma, until taking over the company in 2021. He now teaches wine courses and leads tastings and tours for the company. When not traveling to visit the country’s many winemaking areas, he’s most often found around the table with friends and family sharing a good meal along with a great natural wine, craft beer, or a well-made cocktail.

You can follow him on Instagram at @mdifranco

Sommelier and wine educator of VinoRoma, Frank Villani, who is holding a bottle of wine to pour to members during a tasting.

Frank Villani

Frank is a certified sommelier and member of FISAR.

He was born and raised in Calgary, Canada to Italian parents. At the age of 13, he and his family moved back to their hometown of Pontecagnano, near Salerno, in southern Italy. During his university education there, he discovered a passion for Italian wine and decided to follow it by enrolling in a sommelier course at the Italian Federation of Sommeliers, Hoteliers and Restaurateurs (FISAR). During his studies, Frank worked at a local wine shop, where he enjoyed matching people with the perfect wine. Once he completed his sommelier education in 2009, Frank moved to Rome, where he connected with the Cotarella family of winemakers and got the opportunity to work for them as a wine educator at their Intrecci School of Hospitality near Orvieto. Here he was given the privilege of passing on his knowledge to a new generation of aspiring sommeliers and restaurateurs. Recently, his focus has been on natural wines, which have opened up an entirely new world and continually remind him of why he fell in love with wines in the first place.

You can follow him on Instagram at @frank_villani