Full Itinerary

Our Itinerary for the Week

This page details the itinerary for our standard weeks in Norcia. If you are looking for our Olive Harvest week in Norcia, click here for the correct itinerary.

The Garden at Palazzo Seneca
The Garden at Palazzo Seneca
The Garden at Palazzo Seneca
Junior Suite at Palazzo Seneca
Junior Suite at Palazzo Seneca
Junior Suite at Palazzo Seneca
Norcia Butcher Shop
Norcia Butcher Shop
Norcia Butcher Shop
Main Street in Norcia
Main Street in Norcia
Main Street in Norcia
Welcome dinner in Norcia
Welcome dinner in Norcia
Welcome dinner in Norcia

Day 1 (Saturday)

Welcome to Paradise in Italy!

Places: Rome Airport >> Norcia
Experiences: Welcome Reception
Meals: Afternoon Cocktails
Dinner at Vespasia Restaurant

We start our week at the Rome FCO International airport with our shuttle departing at 12:00 Noon. For guests arriving on late flights that cannot make our free shuttle, we can arrange for a private transfer service for an additional charge.

Once in Norcia, you will check in to your room for the week: The “Relais & Chateaux Palazzo Seneca”, a 16th century palazzo in the heart of Norcia’s medieval quarter that has been converted into an opulent luxury resort. All the rooms are different with wrought-iron post beds or carved wooden headboards, leather desks, designer bathrooms, décor to the standards of the most prestigious mansions.

Once you are checked in, you will have the afternoon to relax, browse the breathtaking village of Norcia, or just take some time to unwind in the sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, etc. You may also enjoy the privacy of a beautiful library with historic and prestigious books, fireplaces and soft leather sofas where you can relax and drink a chalice of fine wine.

At around 6PM, we will meet in the lounge of the elegant Vespasia restaurant, where Hors d’oeuvres and Proseco will be served as we get together for an hour or so to discuss the week ahead and get to know one another. After our get-together, we will take a short stroll around town together and point out some places of interest.

Our welcome dinner tonight will be in Chef Emanuele's Michelin Rated, elegant "Vespasia" restaurant. The menu of the evening will be Umbricelli pasta with Sausage & Fresh Ricotta, Brasato di Sagrantino (Chianina Beef braised in Sagrantino wine), followed by a wonderful Honey & Pollen Parfait for dessert.

After dinner, those that are tired from a long trip can simply walk upstairs to their rooms, or join us for a stroll around this breathtaking village at night and a little grappa to salute our first day together!

Classic Italian Cooking Instructor
Classic Italian Cooking Instructor
Classic Italian Cooking Instructor
Shopping for our cooking class
Shopping for our cooking class
Shopping for our cooking class
Cooking Class in Norcia
Cooking Class in Norcia
Cooking Class in Norcia
Making Ravioli from Scratch
Making Ravioli from Scratch
Making Ravioli from Scratch
Free Range Pigs
Free Range Pigs
Free Range Pigs
Cinturino Salame tasting
Cinturino Salame tasting
Cinturino Salame tasting
View from Farm
View from Pig Farm
View from Pig Farm

Day 2 (Sunday)

Our First Cooking Class & an introduction to Norcia's famous free range "Cinturino" pigs

Places: Norcia
Experiences: Cooking Class: Chianina Beef & Vinaigrette Vegetable Salad; Ricotta Ravioli with butter & Sage Sauce; Local Sausage & Romano Cheese Country Tart; Hot Chocolate Mini Cru

Artisan: Visit with a Prosciutto & Salame Producer

Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: The meal we prepare in cooking class
Dinner: Granaro del Monte Restaurant

This morning we’ll have late start to give you some rest after your trip yesterday. Take the time to relax, explore the village, or use the Palazzo’s sauna and steam baths. At around 10:00, we’ll meet in the lounge of the Palazzo, where a beautiful buffet will await us, complete with pastries prepared that morning by the palazzo’s bakery, home-made jams, freshly baked, breads, etc. We’ll have some time to enjoy breakfast with a fresh cappuccino, café latte, or tea as we meet Chef Emanuele, our cooking instructor for the week. Emanuele will tell us a little about himself and his experience, including the FIVE Michelin starred restaurants that preceeded his time here in Norcia!!

After breakfast, Chef Emanuele will take us on the short walk the beautiful and historic “Casa Bianconi”, the site of our cooking classes for the week.

For our class today, we will prepare a four course meal. Our appetizer will be a Chianina Beef & Vinaigrette Vegetable Salad. For our first course, we will make Ricotta Ravioli with butter & Sage Sauce completely from scratch. Our main dish will be a Local Sausage & Romano Cheese Country Tart. Finally, for dessert, we will make Hot Chocolate Mini Cru.

As always, class is 100% hands-on, so today we will get right into it! Once class is over, we will sit down and enjoy the meal we prepared together for lunch.

We'll take a little rest break after lunch before we head into the local hills to visit a very special farm in the rolling hills just outside of town where "Cinturino" pigs are raised. This is a very special blood line of pigs that are unique to Norcia. Some know of the "Cinta Senese" pigs that are the most elite of Tuscany (They are to pork what "Kobe" is to beef). The Cinturino pigs are an extremely rare, genetically selected breed of the Cinta Senese pigs, and these are considered the best of the best. We will spend a little time in the fields around these free range pigs, take in the view and have a tasting of the local salames that come from these amazing creatures while we learn all about what makes them so special.

Keep in mind that this is not a tourist destination with a gift shop at the exit. To the contrary, this is a local farm that rarely sees anyone other than the farmers. It is a truly amazing experience you won't soon forget.

After our visit, we will head back to Norcia for a little rest before dinner.

Our dinner tonight we will be in the charming and rustic “Granaro del Monte” restaurant, Umbria’s oldest restaurant. Having been in continuous operation since 1850, it recognized as a national historic monument.

The menu for the evening is entirely based on ancient Norcian traditional recipes. We’ll start with a smoked trout salad made with trout from Norcia's local rivers. Our first course will be their specialty “Casteluccio Lentil Soup” (Local lentils grown on the nearby Casteluccio plains, which are known to be the best in the world) with Umbrian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Our second course tonight will be wood-fire grilled Norcia Sausages, Pancetta, and other local meats. For our side dish, we will have fresh seasonal vegetables, and finally dessert will be the pick of the day from the restaurant’s in-house bakery.

Preparing the dough for our pizza
Preparing the dough for our pizza
Preparing the dough for our pizza
Assisi Piazza
Assisi Piazza
Assisi Piazza
Inside the St Francis Basilica in Assisi
Inside the St Francis Basilica in Assisi
Inside the St Francis Basilica in Assisi
Dinner at the Enoteca
Dinner at the Enoteca
Dinner at the Enoteca

Day 3 (Monday)

Pizza Class & a Visit to Assisi

Places: Norcia, Assisi
Experiences: Excursion: St. Francis' Basilica in Assisi; Shopping in Assisi

Cooking Class: Pizza!

Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: Pizza made in class
Dinner: Italian Tapas at the Enoteca

As with every day, our morning begins again with the beautiful breakfast buffet, full of freshly baked pastries and breads from the palazzo’s in-house bakery. After breakfast, we will make our way to the outskirts of Assisi, where we will visit the famous "Boccione" pizzeria, which is located in the beautiful rolling hills just outside Assisi.

Once here, we will Meet Luigi and Paolo, the pizza masters who regularly teach pizza mastery to people from all over the country. Today, they have closed their pizzeria to the public in order to host us for what will be one part pizza class, and one part party. We'll mix our dough together, then each guest will have the chance to pick their own toppings, make their pizza, and cook it in the wood-fired oven. This is one of the highlights of our week together, and our guests always leave having had one of the most amazing experiences of their lives!

After lunch, we will head up to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Still surrounded by its ancient walls, is sits on the slopes of Mount Subasio with beautiful rose stone buildings, winding narrow streets, noble palaces and balconies full of flowers.

You will have a few hours to do some shopping and exploring in town, or join us on a walking tour of the St. Francis’ Basilica.

We’ll then head home to Norcia for a beautiful sunset/dusk drive though the countryside that evokes images you imagine from so many movies about the Tuscany area. Once home at the Palazzo, we will have a little time to rest before dinner.

Tonight we will be having dinner at the Enoteca, just a few steps from the Palazzo. Weather permitting, we will have dinner outside on the main street of Norcia where the locls take their evening stroll. We'll be having an amazing layout of Italian tapas, based on Norcia specialties. They will be bringing us samplings of Norcia salames and prosciutto, Local cheeses with honey and marmalade, Panzanella, Farro salad, Focaccia with local prosciutto and cheese, Quiche with local onions and pancetta, Guanciale with Sage, Goat cheese with dried fruit, Smoked trout with ricotta, Assorted bruschetta, Fruit with sweet Sagrantino wine, Torta al Testo, Grilled Veggies, Porchetta, and Gelato. Of course, dinner will be accompanied by an assorment of local wines.

Truffle Hunter & Dog
Truffle Hunter & Dog
Truffle Hunter & Dog
Truffle Hunting in Norcia
Truffle Hunting in Norcia
Truffle Hunting in Norcia
Taglietelli Pasta from Scratch
Tagliatelle Pasta from Scratch
Tagliatelle Pasta from Scratch
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo at Night
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo at Night
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo at Night
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo
Ascoli Piceno Piazza del Popolo

Day 4 (Tuesday)

Truffle Hunting, Cooking Class & Ascoli Piceno or Spoleto

Places: Norcia, Ascoli Piceno in Marche or Spoleto
Experiences: Cooking Class: Farro Salad with Prawns & Salted Ricotta Cheese; Tagliatelle Pasta with Truffles & Mushrooms; Fruit Crusted Turkey Spiedini; Farro & Pear Cake With Sagrantino Wine Sauce; Olive All'Ascolane (during our visit to Ascoli)

Excursion: Truffle Hunt; Visit Ascoli Piceno or Spoleto; Shopping

Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: The meal we prepare in class
Dinner: Trattoria in Ascoli Piceno or Spoleto

For those interested, we will head out this morning on an early morning Truffle Hunt. Our guide for the hunt will be Nicola and his amazing truffle hunting dogs. This is an actual truffle hunt, so we never know what we will find, or how much we will find, but some of the truffles we find on our hunt will come back to town with us to be used in our cooking class today!

Note: In some periods of May and September, truffle hunting is not allowed in Norcia. When this is the case, our truffle hunt will be more of a demonstration than an actual hunt, and we will let our guests know before we head out.

We'll have some time for a more relaxing breakfast after the truffle hunt, and meet Chef Emanuele in the Vespasia lounge this morning. We will then head to the local shops in town to do some shopping for this morning's cooking class. We'll meet with local grocers and butchers as we gather the key ingredients for today's class.

After our shopping, we will go back to Casa Bianconi and start our class for today's lunch. Today we will be making Farro Salad with Prawns & Salted Ricotta Cheese, Tagliatelle Pasta with Truffles & Mushrooms (from scratch - using truffles we found this morning), Fruit-Crusted Turkey Spiedini, and Farro & Pear Cake With Sagrantino Wine Sauce.

As always, our lunch today will be the what we made in class. After we finish our lunch, we will have a little relaxation time before we head out for our evening excursion.

Tonight we will travel to the neighboring region of Marche to the wonderful city of Ascoli Piceno - Birthplace of the famous Olive All’Ascolane.  We’ll head to a local enoteca in the piazza where Chef Augusto will pour us some wine and teach us how to make these delicious deep-fried stuffed olives.
In Ascoli, you will also have the opportunity to spend some time browsing this beautiful Renaissance town with a piazza that has been described as one of the most beautiful and perfect piazzas in all of Italy.  In the Piazza del Popolo, visit the historic Café Meletti, rated as one of the top 150 caffes in Italy – And also where the liquor Anisette was created.  You will truly walk (and drink) in the footsteps of history as this famous establishment has been visited by politicians, poets and philosophers. As well as artists and authors such as Ernest Hemmingway,  John Paul Sarte, and Simone De Beauvoir. Take some time to stroll the town with it’s many beautiful buildings, cafe’s and boutiques in this historic city with roots pre-dating the Roman period.
Dinner tonight will be in a wonderful trattoria in Ascoli or Spoleto.

Cortona Piazza della Repubblica
Cortona Piazza della Repubblica
Cortona Piazza della Repubblica
View from Cortona
View from Cortona
View from Cortona
Exclusive Perugina Chocolate Class
Exclusive Perugina Chocolate Class
Exclusive Perugina Chocolate Class
Michael under Chocolate Attack!
Michael under Chocolate Attack!
Michael under Chocolate Attack!
Chocolate class in Italy
Chocolate class in Italy
Making our chocolate in chocolate class

Day 5 (Wednesday)

Tuscan Winery & Perugina Chocolate Factory Class

Places: Cortona and Perugia
Experiences: Tuscan Winery Tour; Cooking Class: Chocolate Making Class
Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: Cortona Villa and Winery
Dinner: Granaro del Monte

After breakfast, we will drive to the Southern Tuscan Hills to visit the charming village of Cortona.  Cortona was the inspiration behind the novel Under the Tuscan Sun.  Here, we will spend a few hours touring this quaint Tuscan town where you can do some shopping, or take a short walk to visit “Bramasole”, Francis Mayes’ villa described in the famous book... or “Villa Laura”, the villa that doubled for “Bramasole” in the movie.
After spending time in Cortona, we’ll take a short drive just outside of town to
the Tenimenti d'Alessandro Winery for our first winery experience of the week. – We’ll have a private tour, sample some vino and have a private lunch on the terrace* at their beautiful villa.

After lunch, we’ll head to the outskirts of Perugia as we visit the world-famous Perugina Chocolate Factory.

Once here, we will have time to visit the chocolate museum and a little time at their factory store (YUM!!!). We will then “Apron Up” as we walk into the Chocolate Classroom, where we will be treated to a private 3 hour Chocolate Making class taught by Perugina's Master Chocolatier.

During class, each person will have the opportunity to make their own chocolates with their own ganache, such that each person will have made their own unique recipe. When finished, we will naturally try one another's creations, then head back home to Norcia with our bellies full of chocolate, our chocolate diplomas, and our bags filled with the chocolate we made… to dinner!

If you are the least bit hungry by this point, we’ll be dining back at the Granaro del Monte restaurant in Norcia!

Dinner tonight is all about Truffles! We will eb having Truffle Bruschetta, Tagliatelle pasta with Summer Truffles & Mushrooms, Norica sausage stuffed with truffles and local cheese, and finally Crostata with Ricotta and Castelluccio Lentils.

*As always, for those that do not like truffles, we will have alternatives for each dish.

Montefalco Vineyards
Montefalco Vineyards
Montefalco Vineyards
Wine Cellar in Montefalco
Wine Cellar in Montefalco
Wine Cellar in Montefalco
>Traditional Cold Press Olive Oil Mill
>Traditional Cold Press Olive Oil Mill
Traditional Cold Press Olive Oil Mill
Olive Oil Tasting
Olive Oil Tasting with carlo
Olive Oil Tasting with Carlo
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia
Italian BBQ Party in Norcia

Day 6 (Thursday)

Wine, Olive Oil, & A BBQ with the locals

Places: Norcia, Montefalco, Campello sul Clitunno
Experiences: Scacciadiavoli Winery Tour & Tasting

Frantoio Carletti Olive Mill Tour & Tasting

BBQ with the locals

Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: At Scacciadiavoli Winery
Dinner: BBQ

This morning after breakfast we will go to the outskirts of Montefalco, where we will visit the boutique “Scacciadiavoli” winery, one of the oldest in the region dating back to the 1800’s. Set in beautiful rolling hills full of vineyards (and sunflowers int he summer) right at the Tuscany border, the scenery here is just breathtaking. We’ll visit the beautiful ancient cellars and enjoy a tasting of heir incredible wines, including their celebrated Sagrantino (DOCG), Montefalco Rosso (DOC), Sagrantino Passito (DOCG), Grechetto Umbria (IGT), and Spumante (BRUT).

A light lunch will be at the winery during our tasting experience, including bruschetta, local cheeses, and Panzanella.

Next, we will head to the town of Campello sul Clitunno, where we will visit the “Frantoio Carletti” olive oil mill. This is one of the few remaining mills in Italy that stays true to the antique “Traditional Cold Press” method olive oil production. We’ll have a tour of the mill, plus an olive oil tasting, with snacks to try the oil with.

We'll then head back home to Norcia for a coupe hours rest before be head out for tonight's extremely special event:

The Grigliata!

It all comes together tonight as we head just outside of town to a local farm, where we will have a "Grigliata", or Italian BBQ. Tonight we will get together with some of the locals we have gotten to know (from Palazzo Seneca, the pig farmer, local butcher, and their friends and families) and have a traditional Italian "friends and family" BBQ. We'll grill up sausages, pancetta and more together for an evening you will never forget.

This is not a restaurant type experience. It is a true cultural experience as you live the true Italian life in a way very few travelers ever experience. We will all do a little bit of everything. Some of us will man the grill, some will set the tables, etc. We'll have a wonderful evening as we get to know people we have been seeing all week in a completely different way... as friends. We'll dance, we'll sing, and we will firm up new bonds in a way that "tourists" can never experience. This is always a night our guests never forget.

If they hadn't fully realized it yet, by tonight, our geusts feel they are truly at home here. If there was ever and doubt, it is gone now, because tonight there is no question at all. We are all a big group of close friends that feel like they have known one another for years. This includes our visiting guests, the CDV team, and the locals at Norcia.

 

>Shopping for cooking class at a local butcher
Shopping for cooking class at a local butcher
Shopping for cooking class at a local butcher
>Cooking class in Norcia
Cooking class in Norcia
Cooking class in Norcia
>Making Ricotta on a Local Farm
Making Ricotta on a Local Farm
Making Ricotta on a Local Farm
The Castelluccio Plain
The Castelluccio Plain
The Castelluccio Plain
Guests with Michael in Castelluccio
Guests with Michael in Castelluccio
Guests with Michael in Castelluccio
>St. Benedict Monastery in Norcia
St. Benedict Monastery in Norcia
St. Benedict Monastery in Norcia

Day 7 (Friday)

Make Ricotta Cheese, Cooking Class & The Gregorian Chant

Places: Norcia, Castelluccio
Experiences: Cooking Class: Herb Crusted Trout Roll; Norcia Lentil Soup; Umbrian Porchetta; Lentil Crème Brulee

Make Ricotta Cheese
Experience the Gregorian Chant

Meals: Breakfast: Italian Breakfast at Vespasia
Lunch: The meal we prepare in class
Dinner: Ristorante Vespasia

After breakfast this morning, we will start our final cooking class for the week at Casa Bianconi.

Today we will be making a wonderful Herb Crusted Trout Roll for our appetizer. Our first course will be the Norcia Lentil Soup that you will have been begging us for after having tried it the second night. We will make roasted Porchetta for our main course, and finally Lentil Crème Brulee.

When our class has finished, we will sit down and enjoy the results of our class for lunch.

After lunch, we will head up the Sibillini Mountains Natural Reserve to visit the “Castelluccio Plain”, which offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Besides the striking beauty, Castelluccio is recognized at the source of the best lentils in the world. We'll head up into the tiny village and visit a local shepherd, where we will have the opportunity to make Pecorino and Ricotta cheese while experiencing the incredible views.

For guests visiting us in June, it is Flower Season, and people come here from all over the world to see the amazing flowers growing here!

As we return to Norcia, those that with to join us can take a short stroll to the St. Beneidct monastery before dinner, where we will experience the amazing Gregorian Chant by the monks in the church built at the boirthplace of St. Benedict. This will be their "Compline" service, during which all the lights of the church are turned off and the monks chant by candlelight. It is a truly moving experience.

For our farewell dinner tonight, we will be back in the elegant Vespasia restaurant. Our menu for the evening includes Crisped Gnocchi w/ Pecorino fondue and Sagrantino wine reduction, followed by Guinea Fowl in wine, basil, tomato & olive sauce. Our side will be roasted & potatoes. For dessert, we will have a wonderful local berry compote, layered with sweet & crispy wafers and freshly whipped cream.

The Wine Cellar at our cooking classes
The Wine Cellar at our cooking classes
The Wine Cellar at our cooking classes

Day 8 (Saturday)

Goodbye :-(

Sadly, our week comes to a close this morning. This morning we will have an early departure at around 6:00 AM. This will get us to the Rome airport by 8:30 AM.

This will be sufficient for flights departing after 11:00 AM, so if you cannot get a flight out after 11:00 AM, you will need to spend a night in Rome for a Sunday flight out. Alternately, you can hire a private driver to take you to the airport earlier or later at a cost of roughly 350 Euros per car.

___________________________________________

Itinerary Subject to Change
This is a draft itinerary, which is subject to minor changes before the vacation begins. Changes may be reorganization of days due to closure and festivals, changes due to weather, or seasonal changes.

Menu Variations
The menus listed on the itineraries are subject to change depending on season. This is a summer itinerary. We use only fresh ingredients wherever possible, so if we are unable to prepare a certain dish, it will be substituted.

*Weather
Some places on our itineraries don't work well with rain. When we do expect rain, we try to rearrange the schedule to make the best of it, but substitutions may be made.

Map