RELAIS & CHATEAUX PALAZZO SENECA
RELAIS & CHATEAUX PALAZZO SENECA, owned and operated by the Bianconi family of hoteliers and restauranteurs since 1850, is the perfect spot from which to enjoy all that Norcia has to offer travelers to Umbria. Voted Hotel of the Year in 2017 by the prestigious Virtuoso luxury tourism network, Palazzo Seneca is testament to the Bianconi’s dedication to their community and to elevating hospitality to a fine art. The original guesthouse, located in a fifteenth-century home, became a popular respite for merchants crossing the Apennines under the Bourbon reign. The family has continued to make improvements over the decades—even weathering the 2016 earthquake with a renewed commitment to the property’s future. Currently, the twenty-four-room and five-suite hotel not only offers guests a restful luxury stay it also features a number of immersive experiences that spotlight Norcia’s rich cultural heritage.
Excursions include cooking classes, art and farm tours, lessons in local cheese and honey production, and treks to a truffle cave to undearth the black truffle so prized by chefs from around the world. Norcia itself is a top draw thanks to its wealth of religious processions and festivals —including those celebrating black truffles, saffron, jazz, and flowers. Or, just take off on foot and see where the streets take you—the hotel is a few steps from the main square of St. Benedict, between the Castle of Vignola and the convent of St. Francis. The onsite wellness center, with its massage and water therapies, is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day. As is dinner at Vespasia restaurant. Opened and operated by Vincenzo and Federico Bianconi, the family’s latest generation of restaurateurs, it is a tribute to Norcia’s immense culinary richness. Flickering candlelight, sparkling silverware, crystal glasses, and spotless table linens create an elegant backdrop to the refined dishes prepared by Chef Valentino Palmisano and his staff—each a celebration of the colors, scents, and flavors of the region.