Accomomdations - Wine, Cooking, Truffles & Chocolate: A Foodie's Paradise in Umbria and Tuscany

Relais & Chateaux Palazzo Seneca (Luxury)

Palazzo Seneca was voted as the 2017 Hotel of the Year by a "World-Leader" Travel Organization!

Our home for the week is the stunning "Palazzo Seneca". This Renaissance-Era 16th century palazzo was completely restored by the Bianconi family of Norcia. Their vision was to restore it to its original beauty, sparing no expense to detail, and converting it to a charming boutique hotel. To say they did an amazing job is an understatement. It is absolutely beautiful down to every detail.

But it isn't the beauty of the property that really attracted us. It was the Bianconi family and how they run it that impressed us most of all. Since our vacations are all about a family experience and integrating our guests into the local lifestyle, we cannot simply choose a hotel that is beautiful. After all, hotels are generally impersonal, and they detract from the true local experience. But this one was different. Very different.

The 2016 Earthquakes and 2017 Hotel of the Year Honors

In 2016 the town of Norcia and the surrounding areas were hit by a series of earthquakes. Some were devastating to many towns in the area. Norcia itself had severe damage to many buildings, including the collapse of the 500 Year-Old Basilica of St. Benedict - All that remained was the facade. Miraculously and thankfully, no-one was seriously injured! The historical center was completely shut down for months while inspections had to be done to insure the safety of the residents and shop owners in order for them to return to their beloved town. The Palazzo Seneca withstood the earthquake in fine fashion as during the restoration several years earlier, it underwent a major seismic retro-fitting effort for this very reason. The rebuilding effort for the town of Norcia was spearheaded by the Bianconi Family. Along with city officials, the Bianconi's put all

their efforts into restoring Norcia back to the beautiful city in the mountains that it had become famous for and making it stronger and more vibrant than ever. Through their tireless efforts and with a renewed spirit and staff overhaul -- they lost most of their previous staff as they all had to find other work -- their commitment was unwavering as, after being shut down for over 6 months, they re-opened the Palazzo Seneca to much anticipated fanfare. They even brought in Master Chef Valentino Palmisano to run their much-celebrated, Michelin-Star restaurant, Vespasia. Slowly but surely, the historical center, it's shops, restaurants and cafes have all been re-opened. The Basilica is currently going through a massive rebuilding effort and it's re-opening is undetermined at this time.

The efforts of the Bianconi's did not go unnoticed. Not only for their first-class service and operations at the hotel, but also for their humanitarian work and community involvement, they were recognized and named the 2017 Hotel of the Year by a world-leader tour organization. Their competition were all very well-known Five-Star Hotels from around the world. The presentation was made at a large industry banquet in Las Vegas. We congratulate them on their wonderful accomplishments and we are proud to be associated with them. We believe that once you arrive in Norcia and the Palazzo Seneca, you will see why they truly are in a class by themselves.

How We Found This Amazing Place

We first discovered it by accident. We were in Norcia on a day excursions during one of our Soriano based vacations. We were unhappy with the restaurant we had chosen for the day, so while our group was browsing the village, we set out to find other options for the future.

Michael (One of CDV's founders) walked into a restaurant, and was greeted by Enzo Bianconi. He fell in love with the restaurant, and they got to talking. After a few minutes, Enzo showed Michael Palazzo Seneca, and he was astounded. Along the way, he met the whole family, and they quickly became friends. It was evident that this family was just like us. The authentic experience was very important to them, and everything they did revolved around authenticity and family.

Michael returned for a week, and was hosted by the Bianconi family. With every passing day, they showed Michael around, and it was obvious that while this was a hotel, it was right up our alley like no other place we had seen in Italy. Every member of the staff was part of a big family. We saw them in town, bought drinks for one another, and felt that sense of belonging.

Because of this wonderful feeling, and the stunning beauty of the area, the Bianconi family started talking to Michael about cooking vacations based in Norcia. They did cooking classes with others, but never to the degree that Culture Discovery does (Big 4 and 5 course family meals, etc.). We all agreed that they would do everything our way with us, and we chose to put a week on our calendar to try it out.

Our Alumni Week in Norcia

We announced an "Alumni Only" week based in Norcia for 2011. Seventeen of our past guests that had previously joined us on our Soriano weeks jumped at the opportunity. In fact, we sold it out in three hours.

All of our guests agreed. This was something truly special. They had the time of their lives, and like their initial experience with us, they felt an amazing sense of family and belonging here in Norcia. They found themselves becoming friends with the Bianconi family and their staff. Everyone knew everyone by name. They were having drinks together at night, getting to know the locals. They all agreed that this place was magnificent 10 out of 10 in every way. It was a hotel, but it was not a hotel. To sum it up, at the end of the week we asked what they thought, and the cheers were deafening. We asked if we should begin to do this regularly, and all gave two very enthusiastic thumbs up.


The location could not be better. It is right in the heart of Norcia. Step outside, and you are right in the middle of everything -- Shopping, cafes. bars, gelato shops, etc. Taking an evening stroll in this area is simply the stuff of dreams.


The Palazzo has all the amenities one would expect from a luxury property: Free WIFI Internet, Laundry Service, Daily Cleaning, Satellite Television with English Channels, Spa, and an off-site pool. In addition, there is a 24 hour free snack and drink buffet for our guests.

Visit the Palazzo Seneca Website

Click here to visit their website.

Name Palazzo Seneca
Details Hotel Rooms
Description Standard Double Rooms are included. Suite upgrades may be available at an extra cost paid directly to the hotel.
Housekeeping Daily