Who is Zia Gianna?
It’s difficult to characterize a person as big – not in size, but in personality, in love, in joyfulness – as someone like Zia Gianna, but the first thing to know is that she was “the aunt”.
Zia Gianna was the glue in the family. She was the primary cook of the household, which, as most Italians know, means she was also the most important person in the home! She cooked for everyone, all the time. Zia was the light around which all things revolved, and she used her food to maintain that sense of community.
Nino and Zia Gianna
They were particularly close; they spoke daily, watched cooking shows together, then made the featured recipes after, and prepared favorite dishes for Nino's friends.
Zia Gianna had an innate ability to create community, comfort and love through food, and it is that community, that sense of warmth and nourishing others that Nino hopes to bring to his "B&B Zia Gianna".
Nino and Caffè Zia Gianna
He grew up in Messina, Sicily in a large Italian household that included his father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and learned to cook under the guidance of his vivacious aunt, Zia Gianna. Together they made authentic Sicilian recipes, learning and reinforcing the unspoken rules of traditional Sicilian cooking.
Though he loved cooking, Nino decided to pursue his passion for architecture, so he completed his degree, earned his PhD, and then moved to Cambridge, Mass to pursue his post-doctorate.
After several years working on the conservation of historic heritage in Boston, Nino decided it was time to share his culture – his food – with others, and return to the kitchen. He went to the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts to receive a formal training, then began working as a private chef and three years later, he opened his own space "Caffe' Zia Gianna" in Dorchester, an homage to the woman that inspired his love for food.
Over the past 5 years Nino managed to create a community where people enjoyed their food and company in a bright, warm Sicilian-inspired setting.
Savannah and B&B Zia Gianna
The adventure began during a trip to Savannah on Easter 2022. It was love at first sight for Nino as he fell in love with the town and the friendliness of the locals. He understood it was time to explore other opportunities. He and his partner Hans made the decision to move South along with their Maltese dog "Bruno". The pair purchased an historic Victorian house and made it their home in Savannah. They also decided to open a B&B to bring Nino's love of Sicilian food and culture to Savannah and host guests in true Sicilian style!
B&B Zia Gianna will be a welcoming place for everyone, a pet-friendly home for the four-legged family members, it will be your "home" when you are not at home.