Postcards from Italy

Our Lucky 17th: CIU Travel Celebrates a Milestone Anniversary

The number 17 is considered unlucky in Italy (earning it the nickname “‘a disgrazzia”, or the misfortune, in Naples) and you may be surprised to learn that it is Friday the 17th that strikes fear in the hearts of superstitious Italians, not Friday the 13th.

Brian and Maria Gabriella

We may not be superstitious, but as CIU Travel celebrates its 17th anniversary this month, we have to acknowledge that the past year has been a bit of a wild rollercoaster ride for both our Italy and Switzerland travel business and our personal lives, with a few delightful peaks but many hair-raising drops.

Brian and Maria Gabriella

When we incorporated our start-up travel business in March of 2004 (then called Concierge in Umbria), we could have never imagined what an incredible journey we were about to undertake. From designing a few trips in the region of Umbria where we live part of the year, we expanded over the years to create hundreds of custom itineraries across Italy and Switzerland that focus on authentic, local experiences and unforgettable personalized experiences. We built up a vast network of trusted guides, favorite hotels and restaurants, and unsung destinations near and dear to our hearts to enrich and enliven each client’s stay. 

Brian and Maria Gabriella

As 2020 dawned, however, our travel planning activities ground to a halt and we began what would be the longest period of absence from our beloved Bel Paese for decades. Trips were canceled and postponed, clients contacted us wondering when they would be able to visit Italy again, and we asked ourselves the same question. 


It would be short-sighted to dismiss the entire year as ‘a disgrazzia, however. When COVID swept across the globe, we used our unexpected downtime to take on new projects and turn the corner into our 18th year with a new look and a new venture. We are delighted to share with you our biggest news coming out of year 17 and want to take a moment to thank our fabulous clients and colleagues for sharing this wonderful, sometimes wild, ride with us. 

Brian and Maria Gabriella

Visit Our New Site

We are delighted to announce a complete restyling of our CIUTravel website! Stop by to see our fun video clips, read reviews from past clients, take a deep dive into insider travel intel on our blog, learn about who we are with new staff bios, and begin planning your next jaunt to Italy and Switzerland

Brian and Maria Gabriella

Enjoy the Flavor of Italy at Home

In November we launched of Cantina Direct, our online store selling authentic Italian specialties like extra-virgin olive oil directly from an estate in Umbria, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese produced by a tiny dairy cooperative in Emilia Romagna, and gourmet food boxes straight from our favorite epicurean paradise in Florence! A passion project inspired by our desire to lend a hand to a few of our favorite boutique producers in Italy (and our dwindling Italian pantry supplies), our gourmet e-commerce shop gets the best Italian food to your door in days. Come check out our current selections!

Brian and Maria

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore