When Piero Selvaggio first opened Valentino in Santa Monica in 1972, he will tell you he knew very little about Italian food and absolutely nothing about Italian wine. By the time he and Chef Luciano Pellegrini opened Valentino in The Venetian nine years ago, ELV (and many others) will tell you he was widely considered the best Italian restaurateur in America, and that probably no one, outside of Italy, knows more about Italian wine.
Selvaggio’s personal and professional pilgrimage began on the southeastern coast of Sicily. He and his family moved to Brooklyn in 1963, and six years later, he was a very young man with a lot of ambition and no prospects. So where did he head? Well, to Las Vegas of course! Yes, even in 1969 it seems Vegas was the land of plenty for expatriates and nomads looking to make their mark on the world. As the French would say: plus la change, plus la meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).