Gary Portuesi


Travel + Leisure A-List Travel Agent Gary Portuesi
Photo: Courtesy of the agent

With deep roots in Italy — both his parents were born in Sicily — and extensive knowledge of food and wine — he's the owner of De Gustibus Cooking School and has a Level 3 award certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust — Portuesi takes particular pleasure in planning trips with a culinary focus. That might include a walking food tour of Rome's Trastevere neighborhood, a pizza- and gelato-making lesson in Sorrento, or a private Shabbat dinner with chef Massimo Bottura in Modena (these kinds of celebrity touches are par for the course for Portuesi, who was once able to book Sting's Villa Il Palagio for a client's 60th birthday party.)

Portuesi always has a finger on the pulse of Italy's best new boutique hotels. One he's excited about these days is close to home: "For 19 years, I've been waiting for a spectacular property to open in Palermo and we finally can complete the circle with the new Four Seasons in Taormina, in the old San Domenico Palace space. This is a game-changer as Sicily now has a large global luxury brand represented on the island."


Languages Spoken: English, Italian, and French

Minimum Daily Spend: From $750 per person per day

Trip Planning Fees: $1000, applied to the trip cost

Contact Info | 917-868-4712 | New York


"Working with Gary Portuesi is having the most delightful, wildly knowledgeable, and kind human in your corner and on your side. You wouldn't think it's possible to find that kind of travel-planning heaven, but when you partner with Gary, that's what it feels like. Nothing is onerous. No request too silly or mundane. No historical, culinary, or wine question left unanswered. I have done a lot of intrepid traveling to places far-flung and fabulous. But the trip that Gary planned for me had to be one to beat the band, as I was traveling with my favorite 84-year-old aunt, Lo. Gary and his team went out of their way to make sure Aunt Lo was taken care of, and then some. Every transfer, private tour, and eating extravaganza met and exceeded any of our high-bar expectations. More often than not we went off the beaten path — with Gary secret locales that we would never have otherwise found or experienced. In some ways, Gary is a throwback. He cares passionately about Italy — and generously, lovingly shares it with his clients, who, after spending any time with him, count him as a true friend. The preplanning stateside and the in-country logistical precision were the reasons we had the best trip ever. Just ask Aunt Lo!" - Margie F.

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