Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Concierge in Umbria's Favorite Travel Professionals

We love showing our travelers the authentic, unique sides of Italy and have, over the years, developed relationships with a select group of travel professionals who share our passion and philosophy in creating custom travel itineraries in other destinations.

As one of Wendy Perrin's Top Travel Specialists for Conde Nast Traveler, we have attended the magazine's annual conference where we had the opportunity to meet some of the world's best travel advisors and destination specialists. Wendy has since moved on to create wendyperrin.com, an excellent resource for travelers looking for help in finding the best a destination has to offer, and we continue to connect with her Trusted Travel Experts from across the globe.

These five travel specialists are among our favorite colleagues, and exemplify our philosophy of experiencing the essence of a destination through contact with the locals, culture, and cuisine. We will share other favorite colleagues and destinations regularly going forward.

Our Favorite Travel Professionals


Joe Yudin of Touring Israel, specializing in Israel and Jordan

Joe Yudin in Petra

Originally from New Jersey, Joe now makes his home in Israel. He was a member of the Israeli Defense Force, is a certified guide, and has written travel articles for the Jerusalem Post. In addition to the historic sights, Joe loves great food and he won't let you have a bad meal.

Contact: joe@touringisrael.com

Joe says, “Of course people come to Israel to see the Western Wall, Al Aqsa Mosque, and Church of the Holy Seplechre in Jerusalem and explore the vibrant Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, but there is so much to offer to every traveler in the region. For instance, why not hop over to Petra in Jordan for a day trip?”

Bertie Dyer of India Beat specializing in India

Bertie Dyer feeds and elephant

Bertie and his wife Victoria lived in India for ten years and like us, their travel business started out of a desire to share truly local experiences with visiting friends. They operate India Beat out of Rajasthan, India.

Contact: bertie@indiabeat.co.uk

Bertie says, “I think for the 'must do' I would suggest having lunch with the pilgrims at Ranakpur's astonishing Jain temples. Hidden away in a remote valley outside Udaipur, the white marble temples are an incredible sight. The delicious vegan lunch is served by priests and costs less than a dollar.”

Joel Zack of Heritage Tours Private Travel specializing in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey and all of southern Africa.

Joel Zack in Madagascar

In addition to Joel's impressive academic resume, he is very personable and fun to work with on a trip. He was also recently awarded the Ubuntu award by South African Tourism in the category of "Excellence in Creativity".

Contact: joel@htprivatetravel.com

Joel says, “Let us show you the magic of safari in the world-famous Sabi Sands Reserve, which boasts some of the best game viewing in all of Africa. Together with our expert guides, you will spend three days in vibrant Cape Town and relax in the country's culinary capital, the esteemed Cape Winelands.”

Gwen Kozlowski of Exeter International specializing in Central Europe

Gwen Kozlowski in Durnstein

We recommend Gwen for Austria and have planned many wonderful combined Austria-Italy itineraries with her.

Contact: gwen@exeterinternational.com

Gwen says, “What I offer to visitors to Central Europe is a feeling of really making a local connection. I take guests out to the Wachau Valley, where they’re introduced to Martin. He’s the grandson of one of the premier vintners in the area and it’s not an understatement to say he knows everyone. Guests hop in his car and he drives right up into the terraced vineyards, greeting local winemakers as they climb. In the vineyards, he gives a concise and interesting explanation of the wines of the region, the effects of the different soils and more, before heading down into the villages for tastings of local whites in private tasting rooms. There is ample time for lunch in the countryside at any number of great local restaurants before returning to Vienna. Want a more rustic experience? We can arrange for a gourmet picnic and wine tasting right in the vineyards!”

Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein of Hippo Creek Safaris specializing in African Safaris

Dan Saperstein - Hippo Creek Safaris

Nina and Dan are a mother/son team of safari experts. Nina has been acknowledged as a top safari expert for years and is one of the most fun and interesting people we know. Dan grew up in the safari business and has a passion for photography.

Contact: info@hippocreeksafaris.com

Dan says, “We are specialists for many countries including Tanzania, where the Great Herds of Africa — numbering up to 3 million — can be seen in the Serengeti Plains each November through June. Our clients enjoy small, elegant camps & lodges that bring your dreams of an African Safari to life. We ensure that game drives or bush walks with your guide make you feel as if you are the only people in this enchanted world, while you will then be lying in bed at night listening to the sounds of Africa from just outside your canvas walls, and coming home with memories that will last a lifetime.”


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Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist: Italy