The last leg of our fantastic roadtrip ended in Norcia. Actually, technically it ended in Rome with a wedding, but by then the exploration bit of the journey was over. Norcia is a very, very small town in the Umbrian mountains. For those who are into their salumi, know that this is the birth place of sausages and cured meats.
If you want to buy a typical souvenir from Norcia, it would be sausages and a leg of prosciutto. The Italian felt inspired and bought 15kg of meats, that had to be packed into the car. It’s quite a wonder that my dress at the wedding didn’t smell of wild boar. Or maybe it did and people were just being polite.
We stayed in a fantastic hotel, owned by the Hiltons of Norcia. Palazzo Seneca is a refurbished Umbrian palazzo, decorated as a design hotels meets old craftmanship. It totally works. Thanks to the Italian’s fantastic bargaining technique and luck, we ended up in the suite! It was a terrific treat and the hotel was a gem – from the breakfast room to the library and spa area.
We ate too much in Norcia. The family who owns the hotel also runs other hotels in the village, as well as some restaurants, so of course it was quite clear what we were there to do: eat and sleep.
The hotel’s restaurant, Vespasia, was fantastic. Although typical Umbrian food (or ingredients) were on the menu, they resembled Scandinavian flavours a lot: crayfish soup and chanterelles (as an accompaniment to my lamb), were right in every kind of way. The rustic, intense flavours of the Apennine Mountains, clearly resonated with my Swedish tastebuds. The Italian had tagliatelle with black truffle. Since it was our last night, we really made it into something special and memorable (however the bottle of wine nearly killed some of the memory bit).
Although Norcia is a small town, there’s no doubt that it’s a big draw for tourists and I would come back in the winter as well in the summer to try the more outdoorsy activities the region has to offer.
If you’ve read about my earlier adventures in Portofino and the never ending hike, you know that hiking wasn’t on the cards this time, but I wouldn’t mind to come back and explore the mountains – obviously with some sausage and thick slices of cheese in my backpack. Honestly, the breakfast at the Palazzo was just too excellent to describe. For a foodlover and travel nerd I would say Norcia summed up what we wanted for our roudtrip perfectly; we were looking for something (to us) unexplored, good food, beautiful surroundings, a relaxing vibe and an inspiring hotel.
Too bad we didn’t get to stay longer.