Palazzo Seneca Relais & Chateaux was the first hotel in Norcia and among the first in Italy’s central Umbria when it opened in the early 1900s. It is set on the main square of the charming little town, famous for its black truffles, pork charcuterie and as the birthplace of Saint Benedict, that lies in the Sibylline Mountain National Park. Just 2.5 hours from Rome it is within easy driving distance of Perugia, capital of the Umbria region, and a couple of hours from the Adriatic coast.  

Timelessly elegant guest rooms

junior suite palazzo senecaJunior Suite

The property underwent major restoration some years ago and, following the 2016 earthquake, passed all the safety tests carried out by the Italian Civil Protection Agency. The same family have lived here for over 160 years, and Vincenzo and Federico Bianconi, who are 5th generation, have lovingly refurbished the property to the highest levels of design and tradition. Guests are welcomed like old friends and the 24 guest rooms and suites have a timeless elegance with a mix of artisan and antique furnishings, much of which has been sourced locally, and parquet and terracotta floors.

palazzo seneca

Fine dining and an atmospheric spa

The Michelin star Vespasia Restaurant, under chefs Fabio Cappiello e Fumiko Sakai, is a temple of fine dining with menus based on local raw materials, and breakfasts are a feast of freshly baked patisserie, homemade jams and of course Norcia’s famous cured meats and cheeses. 

vespasia restaurant palazzo seneca 1Vespasia Restaurant

In the spa, which has a Turkish bath, a sauna and a stone hot tub, guests relax under old vaulted ceilings, and many of the treatments use ingredients from the property like honey and essential oils and many of the infusions and teas are made from herbs and plants found in the park.   

Truffle hunting and outdoor sports 

The area offers endless outdoor options from rafting to canyoning and paragliding, cross-country skiing and Nordic walking in winter, and biking and trekking in all seasons. The hotel can arrange cookery classes and outings with expert truffle hunters, and a stroll around the old town takes you back into history with visits to old churches and hidden corners. In the traditional norcineria grocery shops you can pick up all you need for picnics, from Norcia’s sweet cured ham and fresh cheeses to local wines like the Montefalco red and the Sagrantino Passito dessert wine.  For information: www.palazzoseneca.com   


Published in Hospitality

The Armani Hotel opened its doors on November 11, 2011 a collaboration between Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and Emaar Properties PJSC. The rationalist-style A-shaped hotel, designed by Enrico A. Griffini is a safe, private and harmonious world for guests.

Menus that retrace the hotel’s history


Francesco Mascheroni, Executive Chef, will dedicate an anniversary menu to retracing the hotel’s history and ambience. The ingredients are always at the core, focussing on purity and authenticity, while the design and colours of the dishes represent the different spaces and ambiences of the hotel. From the most recent back to 2011, some of the signature dishes are: Snapper (2021), Lamb Ravioli (2020), Carbonara (2019), Duck Ragout Lasagne (2013) and Liu Chu Chocolate, an A-shaped dessert which is a tribute to the world of Armani (2011).

A menu available until 21 December

These dishes speak for the research and insights that have developed a recognisable style of cuisine that pays homage to the West and the East, in a continuous dialogue producing traditional dishes with a contemporary look. The menu, which includes two tasting options and consisting of 5 or 6 courses, is available up to 21 December. Armani Restaurant is open from 7.30pm to 10.30pm, and is closed on Sunday and Monday evenings.

Photo Credits: Simona Bruno

Published in Hospitality

These unique experiences in the Val Gardena Dolomites are mainly, but not only, on the snow.  Let's start with the adrenaline rush of being the first to leave tracks on a snowy slope after the snow cats have passed during the night. Even before the ski lifts open the cable car takes skiers to Dantercepies every Tuesday and to Seceda every Thursday to catch the first rays of sun on the Sassolungo mountain range.  A hearty breakfast then helps to make this a truly unforgettable experience.

The Dolomite valley’s Legendary 8

The Legendary 8 are the most beautiful slopes in the Val Gardena and extend for a total of 36 kilometers. What they all have in common is that they are perfectly maintained and offer impressive views of the legendary Alpine world of the Dolomites.

skiing south tyrol

Snowshoeing accompanied by local Alpine guides

Luxuriate in the unspoiled nature of the Val Gardena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and discover its breathtaking landscape and Ladino culture. Accompanied by an expert Alpine guide you can explore the most beautiful places in the valley, and there are also evening snowshoe excursions that end in cozy mountain refuges.

Winterwandern Langkofel SeiserAlm SchneespurenDOLOMITESValgardena

Torchlight processions to Ortisei

The Val Gardena’s splendid natural scenery adds a touch of romance to the evening torchlight processions through the woods on the Troi UNIKA trail. These then go through the center of Ortisei to discover and enjoy the best of local Val Gardena craftsmanship.

Special nights on e-bikes, sleds and snowshoes

Set out on e-bikes, on sleds or with snowshoes to enjoy some cross-country skiing in the moonlight. The crystalline mountain air, the snow and the imposing mountain peaks make for unforgettable moments in the magical world of the Dolomites.

Zipping down the mountain on the Monte Pana ZIPline

For those who want to experience a really fast descent the brand new Monte Pana ZIPLine starts at the Mont de Sëura chairlift mountain station. Equipped with a safety harness you cover 1,500 meters at full speed. This thrilling experience is at a maximum height of 100 meters above ground and allows you to “fly” at almost 100 kilometres an hour. For further information: www.valgardena.it

Published in Experiences & Tips

Villa Le Prata - del Vescovo is an aristocratic residence in the centre of a centuries-old park that Anna Vittoria and Bernardo Losappio have transformed into a property where the excellence of wine is combined with the magic of a special land.

Vineyards and a  swimming pool  

Built in 1862, the property is now a charming winery where each room is unique. You can walk through the park surrounded by vineyards, dive into the swimming pool with a Jacuzzi and relax at sunset with a glass of Brunello di Villa le Prata wine.

A wine lovers delight

Excellent Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines have been produced here since the 1980s on the three hectares of vineyards that surround the villa where picnics or dinners can also be organized. Tours of the Val d'Orcia on an old Vespa and sunset e-bike tours are also available as well as a personal trainer for Pilates, bodyflying and yoga classes. And for wine lovers there are guided wine tastings and tasting courses.

Wine and art. A perfect match

Villa Le Prata's newest project focuses on combining art and wine in an immersive experience. A unique, dynamic art gallery has been created in all areas of the villa. “Combining a passion for art with that for wine making was a natural step for us - says Bernardo Losappio - transforming the 18th-century summer residence of Bishop of Montalcino into something more than a charming hotel.

Contemporary artists, fine dining and wines

Wine, Art and Beauty, curated by artistic director Michele Crocitto together with Edoardo Losappio, will host contemporary artists. The first will be Wine & Glass, the new collection by Modenese sculptor Carlo Baldessarri designed especially for Villa Le Prata, which will be on display in the vineyard and in the park of the property until 31 December. There will be areas where guests can meditate while tasting a Brunello and admiring the works on display, and a QR code for further information. “The special thing about this project - continues Edoardo Losappio - is that every guest, every art lover, will have the opportunity to dine with the artists, to interact with them and to participate in the creative workshops we will be organizing."

Published in Food&Wine

4_Podere_Casanova.jpgChristmas holidays away from the tourist crowds with family and friends, spending relaxing and peaceful days dedicated to outdoor exercise and discovering Montepulciano, Val di Chiana, Val d'Orcia and other iconic corners of Tuscany while enjoying good food and excellent wines. The charming Podere Casanova farmhouse, attached to the renowned winery of the same name guarantees maximum privacy with its three independent flats and their private green spaces, making them a comfortable home away from home for holidaymakers.

2_Podere_Casanova_1_1.jpgWalking and cycling trails and guided wine tastings 

Nestled in vineyards Podere Casanova is only ten minutes from the beautiful old town of Montepulciano, rich in history and art and typical of Tuscany with its exceptional cuisine, old churches and museums. The uncontaminated landscape encourages relaxing walks or cycle outings in every season. In the nearby winery the Nobile di Montepulciano and other noble wines of the estate age in semi-darkness. In the tasting room with a panoramic terrace overlooking the vineyards, at guided tastings of the wines and typical products of the region you will learn to recognise the wines, evaluate their tastes and aromas and discover their best combinations with typical regional specialties.

Published in Hospitality

A history made of aromas and flavours, terroir used for biodynamic production to make natural wines of the highest quality. Pur Suedtirol is a selection of red and white wines that you can only find at the markets of South Tyrol and online. A project that aims to show that the world of wines knows no boundaries, thanks to the innovative techniques, behind the small intuitive producers.


Christmas gifts for wine lovers

Among the most innovative wines, organic and biodynamic wineries such as Manincor, Lageder, and Loacker deserve attention. Winemakers who want to keep the wine tradition alive, but with an innovative twist while respecting the land and following old traditions. Like this original and certainly unique Christmas box, a small selection was created by a sommelier. In the package, you will find everything you need to know about the selected wines. You can then access the video tasting of the month with the story and curiosities behind each bottle.

wine1_2.jpgNatural, organic and biodynamic wines

Natural, organic and biodynamic, the selection of wines offered by Pur Südtirol will certainly find followers among wine aficionados. A journey of flavours through the world of red and white wines, all at the highest level of refined gastronomy.

Published in Food&Wine

The second edition of Active Abruzzo, Real Experience brought together nine highly specialized tour operators including Jonas and Girolibero and Tourissimo from the USA , Sportourist, Italia Outdoor and Genius Loci Travel from Italy and Scape Travel from Spain as well as Benedetti Viaggi. 

A Walking Tour and a Cult Cycling Tour

abruzzo cycling

This edition saw the participants take part in two tours: a Walking Tour and a Cult Cycling Tour. The Walking Tour, from the Apennines to the sea, was accompanied by an alpine guide and included visits to villages and hermitages, paragliding and wine tastings, while the Cult Bicycle Tour on the roads of the Giro d’Italia and the Tirreno-Adriatica visited villages and Bourbon fortresses along wine routes, and biking trails to the coast and to the mountains, with ad hoc wine and food tastings of typical local breads and oils. Both tours ended at the trabocchi, the traditional huts used as fishing machines on stilts which, it is believed, date back to the Phoenician era. 

2022 Walking and Cycling tourist packages

The event showcased the Abruzzo as a region where you can experience nature, traditions and culture in the form of active holidays and in 2022 tour operators will be able to include two Abruzzo walking and cycling tourist packages of 7 days and 6 nights in their programmes.

Published in Tours

The 5-star Romantik Hotel Turm in Fiè allo Sciliar (BZ) is a destination unlike any other, an ancient building surrounded by 5 towers with magnificent views of the Dolomites. Inside, there is an extraordinary collection of artworks in the rooms and suites, all different from one other and furnished with designer pieces and antiques of local craftsmanship. In the original wellness centre the Salt Cave carved into the rock and the Mystic Sauna stand out. Also exclusive are the wellness treatments inspired by the area, such as the traditional hay bath, which you can enjoy alone or as a couple by candlelight. The restaurant amazes with refined dishes inspired by local cuisine, accompanied by intoxicating wines that Stefan and his wife Kathi produce on the Grottner farm.

Romantik Hotel Turm of Fiè allo Sciliar food

Advent at the Romantik Hotel Turm

From 22 to 26 December 2021 Advent at Romantik Hotel Turm offers the opportunity to enjoy two romantic days discovering the traditional Christmas markets. The offer from €410  for two nights per person in a double room includes a small Christmas surprise in the room, a welcome punch, a day in half board with the 4-course Romantic  Menu or the 1001 Calories Menu, a Christmas bath in the imperial tub and a special final evening with a 5-course tasting menu and a wine pairing with the dishes.

New Year at the Turm

From 25 December 2021 to 7 January 2022, the package offers 7 nights in the Grouse double room at the price of €1,948 per person, including 6 days of half  board with the 4-course Romantic Menu or the 1001 Calories Menu, special New Year's Eve dinner and New Year's Eve party to welcome in the New Year!  Romantik Hotel Turn offers 7 nights for the price of 5, starting from €765 per person. From 9 to 31 January 2022, this will be enhanced by the convenience of the 7x5 formula with breakfast..

Published in Experiences & Tips

The 8th Gourmet Skisafari will take to the slopes of the Alta Badia on Saturday 11 December, giving skiers the opportunity to move from one Alpine refuge to another to taste the creations of the participating chefs. Chefs Simone Cantafio (Ristorante La Stüa de Michil, Hotel La Perla, Corvara, 1 Michelin star) and Marco Martini (Marco Martini Restaurant, Rome, 1 Michelin star) are participating for the first time, while Alberto Faccani (Magnolia Ristorante, Cesenatico, 2 Michelin stars) is representing the chefs who participated in previous editions. 

Passes for the Gourmet Skisafari can be purchased in advance at the tourist offices in Alta Badia, or directly at the participating refuges. The € 60 ticket includes 3 dishes and wines. For further information and reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Sunrisa. Dawn skiing and a hearty breakfast at 2,000 meters

On Monday 20 December the Col Alto and Piz Sorega ski lifts open their doors at dawn to give passionate skiers the opportunity to see the sun rise at 2,000m and ski on perfectly prepared slopes. They can also enjoy gourmet breakfasts at the Club Moritzino, Ütia I Tablá, Ütia de Bioch, Ütia Piz Arlara and Ütia Las Vegas refuges.  

Sommelier on the slopes 

In Alta Badia you can enjoy the best South Tyrolean wines with Sommelier on the slopes scheduled for 14 December 2021, 11 and 25 January, 15 February, 8 March and 5 April 2022. Participants will be accompanied by a ski instructor and a sommelier and the price of the tastings is € 40.00 per person.     

A Wine Safari on Skis 

On Sunday 20 March 2022, Alta Badia brings the best South Tyrolean wines to high altitude for an exclusive tasting, which will be held from 10 am to 4 pm, at the Piz Arlara, Ütia de Bioch, I Tablà and Pralongià refuges. Tickets can be purchased directly on site, cost € 30,00 per person and include the entire wine selection. For information: Alta Badia Information Offices - www.altabadia.org

Discover Florence during the 8 December Immaculate Conception long weekend and enjoy the city at its most festive. The ideal choice is to stay at the Brunelleschi Hotel which has exclusive packages that are a mix of relaxation and fun. What better than these special offers and this 4-day weekend to dedicate to the exploration of Florence’s incredible artistic heritage?  

Christmas lights on the main monuments

Florence’s Christmas atmosphere starts in early December with the traditional Christmas markets, and to make the atmosphere even more festive the Moon F-Light Festival’s Christmas lights and projections light up the main monuments such as the Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo dei Medici and Piazza Santa Maria Novella. 

Art galleries open on 8 December 

The longest ice skating rink in Europe in the garden of the Fortress is another major attraction together with the famous Santa Claus Village, where you can enjoy excellent street food, and get to meet Santa Claus.  In addition to strolling around the old centre and Christmas shopping in the traditional Christmas markets, you must also visit the city’s famous museums and art galleries, from the Uffizi Gallery to the Palatine to the Accademia, all of which will be open on 8 December.

A signature restaurant with two Michelin stars

The Brunelleschi Hotel is the perfect solution for fully immersing yourself in the magical atmosphere of Christmas in Florence. Located in the heart of the historic centre the hotel has been renovated in an extremely elegant contemporary yet classic style. The Santa Elisabetta is the hotel's gourmet restaurant. It is one of the top gastronomic addresses in Florence, and was awarded its second Michelin star in 2021 The property’s more informal Osteria Pagliazza has a delicious menu based on local ingredients. 

Special packages from 3 to 11 December

To mark this year's Immaculate Conception festivities The Brunelleschi has a special offer for its guests. The Immaculate Conception Package includes one or more nights in the room of your choice, breakfast, free Wi-Fi, use of the fitness area, and a sweet gift with a cup of hot chocolate at the Tower Bar on 8 December. Prices in double rooms start from €398.00 and are valid for stays from 3 to 11 December. 


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