Portuesi, founder and managing director of Authentic Italy, is still inspired by the wonder of his childhood visits to Sicily and the Mezzogiorno. He is fluent in Italian, owns a home in Sicily, and travels the country every few months to lead tours and scope out new activities. With more than two decades of travel planning under his belt — and experience personally organizing 70-some trips per year — he's able to organize deep dives and exclusive experiences in all of Italy's 20 regions. Try wine making at Benanti Winery in Fattoria di Fugnano in Tuscany or caviar tastings at Calvisius Caviar, Italy’s premier producer of the sturgeon. For bragging rights, ask Gary to arrange a private tour of the Palazzo Alliata di Pietratagliata led by Princess Signoretta herself.
"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