Italy Cooking Vacations: What are Relais & Chateaux Properties?
Not just any hotel can be a part of the Relais & Chateaux association, although there are more than 500 members. Established in 1941, the membership features the world’s finest hotels, restaurants, and chefs that embody the spirit and traditions of the region they are located in. They are not chain hotels, and they must have something special about them to be considered for the exclusive fellowship.
In other words, when you see that one of our culinary vacations takes place at a Relais & Chateaux property, you know you’ll be staying at a luxury accomodation unlike any other for your once-in-a-lifetime culinary vacation.
Most of the Relais & Chateaux hotels that we work with are scattered throughout Italy. For one, there’s the stunning Palazzo Seneca, which the Bianconi family operates in the charming small town of Norcia, and which is home to our cooking vacations A Food Lover’s Adventure in Norcia and Cooking and Walking in Umbria. A converted 16th century Umbrian palace, Palazzo Seneca features unique, elegant rooms, as well as a wellness area and the renowned Ristorante Vespasia.
In southern Italy, head to the Amalfi Coast area and stay at the Relais & Chateaux Don Alfonso 1890. Nestled in one of our favorite towns and boasting only a handful of exquisite rooms and suites, it is one of our favorite destinations.
And in Tuscany – just outside Cortona – is the magnificent Il Falconiere, where our cooking vacation Cook Under The Tuscan Sun takes place. Home to a Michelin-rated restaurant, the property also boasts more than 10 hectares of vineyards, olive, and gardens. This is the Tuscany you’ve been dreaming about, especially considering the level of service you’ll receive at this property, as well as any other Relais & Chateaux property.
By Liz Hall
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Originally published September 10, 2013.