SAVEUR Issue May 2010
…just returned from Italy with partner Maria Hawkins, where they took a cooking class on pasta at Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence with Chef Enzo Pette.
SAVEUR has formed an alliance with Virtuoso, an invitation-only network of the world’s finest travel specialists, to bring you dream travel packages and authentic culinary experiences in locations all over the world.
Since culinary travel is one of the fastest growing travel trends today, we hand-selected the top travel consultants from the Virtuoso network to make up the SAVEUR Travel Advisory Board to build culinary travel offers, exclusively for SAVEUR readers.
The board brings destinations to life through the language of food and wine, cruises and luxury travel-geared towards travelers, not tourists. Meet the board, find exclusive travel offers, discover where our specialists have recently traveled, and more.
Roberto Agostini, CTA, CLIA
SAVEUR Travel Board
Conde’ Nast Traveler Top Specialist
Luxury Travel and Cruises
Locations: Europe, South & Central America, Australia, New
Zealand & South Pacific, Asia, South Africa and Morocco
Specialties: Cruises, Wine, Cooking Schools, personalized
itineraries, and honeymoons.
Precision Travel, 7557 Rambler Rd. Suite 150, Dallas, TX 75231
direct 972-247-9055 -214-231-2821
Consulting Fee: $200 +
Born in Padova and educated in Florence and Venice, Roberto Agostini later studied physics and chemistry in Santiago, Chile. He relocated to the United States, where he served as a faculty member at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas, and worked there for the International Department of American Airlines for 20 years. Upon early retirement, Roberto joined the travel agency Precision Travel. For his promotion of Italian industry, culture, and language in the United States, as well as tourism in Italy, he received the Gold Medal from the Padova Chamber of Commerce. Roberto was selected by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the Top 100 Travel Specialists in the country in luxury travel and cruises for 10 consecutive years.
Maria Hawkins and Roberto Agostini
Where we’ve been: Italy
Maria and I took the vacation of a lifetime this summer touring Italy. We started in Rome experiencing art, culture, and exquisite dining while lodging in the Presidential Suite of the Hotel d'Inghilterra. We stopped for a visit to the Regina Baglioni where we enjoyed a classical suite and dined with Mel Gee Henderson and her company of the PBS series, ‘Escapeseeker’, who were in Rome producing an Italian travel documentary. We then traveled on to the beautiful Amalfi Coast, lodging at the famous Hotel Santa Caterina and dined while overlooking the sea at sunset and the sweet smell of lemon trees and flowers. In Ravello, we had a special dinner at Palazzo Sasso and an after dinner grappa and cigar on the romantic terrace of Il Caruso. Maria and I then visited Positano stopping at the unique Il San Pietro where, with owner Vito, we stirred the marinara sauce and added just the right spices for the lunch menu. We visited Capri and experienced a wonderful dinner in Sorrento at the Grand Excelsior Vittoria with its magnificent view of the bay and tasted Maria’s favorite limone gelato while shopping for her ‘treasures’. We traveled to Perugia, swimming over Etruscan ruins in the Buffani Palace pool. In Siena e tasted some of the most exquisite wines in the underground celebrated cellar of the Grand Hotel Continental. While in Florence we attended a cooking class with the famous Chef Enzo Pette of Hotel Helvetia and Bristol and we prepared a five-star Italian dinner, graduating with "honors". We snacked the Tuscan gastronomique boutique INO, where owner, Alessandro Frassica, selected a special wine and morsels. No visit to Florence would be complete without a Florentine home –cooked meal at Il Latini, where Michele Notarfrancesco and his staff create a unique family and friendship dining experience. Our Florentine stay concluded with a romantic dinner at an exclusive table at the Orient Express Villa San Michele complete with a sunset view of Florence.
Maria and traveled on to visit beautiful Venice and while we were enjoying our stay at the famous Orient Express Cipriani, we received an invitation from Relais Villa Del Quar owners' Leopoldo Montresor and Evelina Acampora to see the opera Aida at the Arena de Verona and to be their guests at the Villa! This was an experience of a lifetime. When we arrived at the Villa Del Quar, we were treated to a fantastic meal prepared by the famous chef, Bruno Barbieri. The dinner was accompanied by their exclusive Montresor wine. We returned to Venice to enjoy the typical Venetian luxury of the Luna Baglioni, where we enjoyed our last romantic dinner in the subdued and luxurious atmosphere of the Luna’s award-winning Canova Restaurant.
*This was a trip made for a queen and king!!
Dinner at Acanto Restaurant - Hotel Principe di Savoia- Milan, Italy
Starter Cream of courgette soup with lobster carpaccio, bell peppers and capers
Main course Lobster-filled 'tortelli', peas and cherry tomatoes Sauted lobster with vegetables and citrus fruit special dressing
Dessert: Cherry parfait and vanilla yogurt Coffee and petits fours
Wines: Vigna di Gabri - DONNAFUGATA, Trebbiano D'Abruzzo AGRICOLA CECCHETTO
Grappa: Grappa di Sassicaia Jacopo Po