Travel + Leisure A-List Travel Agent Gary Portuesi

Gary Portuesi


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. Last fall, he sent one client on a blowout Modena itinerary that included Shabbat dinner with chef Massimo Bottura, a contemporary art tour with Bottura’s wife and Casa Maria Luigia co-owner Lara Gilmore, and a private concert at the home of Luciano Pavarotti. Portuesi always has a finger on the pulse of Italy’s best new boutique hotels. One he’s excited about these days is Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa. “Ischia’s first true five-star hotel has it all,” he raves. “Beautiful rooms, excellent cuisine, privacy, a private beach, extraordinary views, and a thermal spa. It allows us to sell this authentic island to a discerning crowd.”


Languages Spoken: English, Italian, and French

Minimum Daily Spend: From $500 per person per day

Trip Planning Fees: Varies

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 Fox