Client Comments about A Culinary Adventure in Umbria - BEST SELLER
Go back to A Culinary Adventure In Umbria
For the most part, we really enjoyed our cooking vacation. Kerry’s suggestion that Palazzo Seneca handle the transfers from our Rome hotel was great. The driver, Tiziano, was at our hotel at the scheduled time and we enjoyed his company on the drive through the beautiful Umbrian countryside. At the hotel the Bianconi’s were very nice and their staff friendly and accommodating. We were in a deluxe room which included a balcony which we enjoyed every day, and a very large bathroom in the room. Norcia itself is small but nice and very popular with Italian tourists. Activities on our cooking vacation couldn’t be beat. Our 4 cooking classes were with Flavio the restaurant’s chef, with his staff helping out. Cheryl and I enjoyed working in the restaurant’s professional kitchen and Flavio’s staff was a lot of fun. We have successfully prepared a number of dishes at home that we prepared in class. Flavio is an excellent teacher and although not a native of Umbria, has an excellent knowledge of the region’s food. We especially enjoyed the last class where we prepared desserts with Flavio and his pastry chef. Our “field trips” were also fun. With the highlight being the truffle hunt. We went out in the afternoon with our guide/translator, the hunter and his 2 cocker spaniel mixes. The dogs continuously found truffles. We also enjoyed our trips to Assisi, Spoleto and to the pig farm. On the negative side the hotel staff did not tell us what was and was not included with our meals. It also wasn’t explained that we could have dinner at Il Granaro with its regional specialties rather than at Vespasia. We did end up asking, but I think the Palazzo Senaca should have explained this. We couldn’t recommend Il Granaro as Cheryl became sick after eating vegetarian ravioli the last night.
James and Cheryl P., IL
Norcia is a charming little town in Umbria. I felt safe walking around any time of the day or night. The hotel Palazzo Seneca was fabulous, the staff was friendly, the cooking classes were great, and the driver/guide Tiziano was one of the best ever. I really enjoyed the truffle hunt. It was a most unusual experience. I have traveled to Italy 10 times. This hotel was the most handicapped accessible that I remember – nice elevators and large rooms. Vivian C., NC
The trip was amazing! It was the perfect balance between cooking and sight-seeing, group time and solo time, down time and activities. I felt incredibly well taken care of, and as I was traveling alone, I was even more grateful for this.
Randy H., CA
We loved the town of Norcia and the hotel Palazzo Seneca. The staff were very accommodating and had been well trained in the philosophy that the guest’s request is very important. Staff was particularly helpful when one of our party had a tooth abscess which needed medical care and medication. The Bianconi family, parents and especially the two sons, made a point of visiting with us, and were interested in our feedback. I love the open mindedness of the chef, Alberto, who took extra time with us in the hotel kitchen, also Sarah, his wife who made among other wonderful things, the most delicious focaccia! The truffle hunt evening and the visit to the pig farm were highlights. All in all, a very special experience.
Annalouise B., Canada
It’s taken me quite a while to write about our experience at Palazzo Seneca. Not because it wasn’t everything I dreamed of and more, but because it so exceeded all of my expectations that I wrote and re-wrote my experience trying to capture it all in the best way possible. My husband and I travel to Italy every year and have for years, we love the country, the people, and, of course the food and wine. I love to cook and it had been my dream to take a cooking class in Italy. I’ve imagined what it would be like so many times, that I was prepared to be a bit disappointed. How could it live up to my expectations I wondered. We’re very seasoned travelers, due to our work we travel all over the world and we’ve been lots of places, and we’ve come to expect certain things especially when we’re on vacation. This trip was the most fantastic experience of my life! Exceeded all my expectations and everything was absolutely perfect! We looked at every cooking class offered and we finally decided on Palazzo Seneca, because of its location, the hotel itself, and that it offered 4 days of cooking! From the moment we arrived and were met at the airport by Tizano – who we became instant friends with. He was our driver and our guide and we so valued his knowledge of the area – he made our excursions really wonderful, and I know our friendship will continue for years to come. It’s hard to describe the class – because it was so perfect. I was so excited I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Our first day began with meeting Chef Flavio and his team. He has a small but very dedicated and talented team, and they were great to work with and watch. It turned out that it would be just my husband and I for the class – which was fantastic, having it all to ourselves. Chef Flavio is an amazing person and chef. He’s extremely talented, very relaxed, and he’s definitely in his element; he’s a great teacher, a brilliant chef and just a super person. His philosophy on food and cooking really matched ours – organically grown, in season and not too many ingredients. Each day we learned something new – and I have to say that on day two we were joined by another couple and they were wonderful, newlyweds from London and we had THE BEST time together learning how to make pasta! Our classes began with breakfast and appetizers, then on to pasta, main courses and of course ended with desserts. We took copious notes and my husband drew pictures which really helped when we got back home and tried the recipes ourselves. We also had fantastic day trips, one day we went to a pig farm – the only one in Italy where the pigs are free range (there are only 3 in all of Europe), we went on a truffle hunt – so much fun!!! And we also went to visit a goat and sheep farm, and of course we went to a winery too! I also want to note that Palazzo Seneca is beautiful and just perfect for us, lots of places to sit and read or have a drink and relax. Our room was beautiful, and very comfortable (I’m still dreaming about the bed), we’ve stayed in places all over the world and Palazzo Seneca ranks up there at the top of the list. The staff are wonderful, and we felt so comfortable and right at home. It’s truly lovely. At the end of a trip what remains — those lasting impressions — is the people you meet and experiences you have. Ours was the best ever — I learned so much, not just about food but also about the people and the culture of Norcia and Umbria. The best advice I have is – GO!!! And one last thing, I’m sure that Chef Flavio will reach his goal of getting the Michelin Star he so deserves. My husband and I have decided that we’re going to go back next year, that’s for sure.
Susie D., CA
My daughter and I really enjoyed our time in Norcia. The hotel Palazzo Seneca was lovely. Our accommodations were perfect. The staff was very, very hospitable, competent and went out of their way to satisfy our every need. Our chef, Flavio Faedi was truly knowledgeable and shared his love of Italian food. We enjoyed every part of our trip to Umbria but the classes with Flavio were by far the best part of it all. I would have liked a bit more ‘hands on’ participation like we did when making fresh pasta but other than that, everything was perfect.
Deborah R., ON
Our driver, Tiziano, met us promptly for a 2 1/2 hour drive from Rome to the beautiful and quaint village Norcia. He spoke excellent English and gave us first-hand information about each destination and adventure he drove us to daily. His knowledge of the Umbrian Valley was very useful to us, and he became our tutor and friend. The Hotel Seneca is owned and operated by a lovely family who have been in the hotel business for many generations. We were warmly greeted daily by hotel staff as well as the family which include two sons who now oversee the daily operation of the business. The Hotel Seneca has been recently renovated with style and quality. We had a room, small but comfortable, with a window which opened to the hillside of the Umbrian Valley. Not all rooms have a view, but this was important to us, and they accommodated our last minute request. The hotel staff tries very hard to make sure their guests are happy and comfortable. Norcia is a small village with friendly families that have lived there for generations. We took nightly walks to the town square for a gelato while watching families gather for an evening chat and children playing. Norcia is also known for their truffles and lentils – we brought back as much as we could pack in our suitcases. Chef Flavio is a master chef with a gentle and kind style of teaching. We enjoyed daily lessons and looked forward to the meals which we prepared with him. The groceries are delivered fresh daily from local growers and farmers, and we picked fresh herbs from his garden. Chef Flavio’s staff is extremely professional and hard working. The meals we enjoyed at the many restaurants owned and operated by the family were all excellent. This was an adventure of a life time for us.
Steve and Julie F., CA
The hospitality of the family at the Palazzo Seneca was fantastic. We enjoyed everything about our program and would highly recommend it to anyone who was interested. The food was fantastic, the staff was very friendly and helpful and even our driver (Tiziano) was amazing!
Richard (at The International Kitchen) was very helpful and did an outstanding job accurately describing the program.
Kristina F., CA
Norcia was charming and the Palzzo Seneca was lovely – Beautiful 5 star boutique hotel with friendly staff. The details were well organized starting with our Mercedes car service and driver from the Rome airport. Each day was the perfect blend of personal time, cooking, and activity. The staff was very accommodating to our schedule and preferences. The cooking classes ranged from 1-3 hours and focused on technique and regional cooking. The classes tended to be a blend of demonstration and “hands-on.” We thoroughly enjoyed the planned activities – truffle hunting, visiting a pig farm, day trips to Assisi and Spoleto with a highly educated guide who spoke good English. We also appreciated not having to plan a thing once we landed in Rome! The food and meals were spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone with discerning tastes and an appetite for a peaceful, yet active, vacation. I would not classify this as a cook school, but cooking classes.
Linda M., CA
I loved everything about this experience. The hotel was amazing and the staff fantastic. They went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and worked hard at communicating with us in English, as our Italian was not very good! The chef was excellent, so nice, friendly and easy to talk with. He adjusted the cooking lessons to suit our needs and was very willing to answer our questions. He even made phone calls to others to find answers for us if he did not know them. The excursions included with this tour were great, they really allowed you to see what Umbria had to offer. The region is very diverse, but I felt that our tours allowed us to experience it all in 4 short days. Our driver was great, so friendly and informative. He even left a note for us on check-out to answer a question we had asked the day before! I felt very special and privileged to be on this tour. As there was only the two of us for this offering everything felt very personal and like it was done especially for us. This was truly a first-class vacation. The only negatives I have would be that I would have like some time on our own in Assisi to explore the town. Our tour guide was excellent, and brought us to and showed us around all of the main sites, but I would have enjoyed a couple hours to wander the streets of this amazing town.
Kelly B., Canada