Italy Cooking Vacations: What are Relais & Chateaux Properties?
Not just any hotel can be a part of the Relais & Chateaux association, although there are currently 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 the R&C logo on our website, you know you'll be staying at a luxury property unlike any other for your once-in-a-lifetime culinary vacation.
Most of the R&C 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 vacation "A Culinary Adventure 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 led by Chef Flavio.
In Tuscany, go "Beyond Deluxe" with a stay at the 5-star Grand Hotel Villa Cora, which is located in the foothills just outside of Florence. While the hotel itself is decorated with antiques, it also offers modern amenities that help make your stay relaxing and comfortable.
Also 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 & Chateau property.
But R&C properties aren't only limited to Italy; after all, they're located in 60 countries from Europe to South America. Over in France, experience "Chateau de Berne," which is like a village unto itself. In addition to the chateau, the property features an auberge (or an inn), as well as a beautiful outdoor pool, tennis and boules courts, gardens, and biking trails.
Yet none of these hotel descriptions do them justice. To really understand what special places these hotels are, they deserve to be experienced.
By Liz Hall