- La Dimora degli Angeli (Florence): You walk a fine line when you try to bring a historic palazzo into the 21st century, and this place walks it expertly. Rooms are split over two floors, with contrasting characters—one romantic and modern-baroque in style; the second characterized by clean, contemporary lines and Scandinavian-influenced design. All are affordable.
BioCity (Milan): For travelers on a tight budget, the BioCity is everything a hotel should be, and a little more. Built into a revamped 1920s villa, it's cozy, stylish, environmentally aware, equipped with all the gadgetry and connectivity you need, and currently the best value in what can be an expensive city.Fontanella Borghese (Rome; tel. 06-68809-504): Near the Spanish Steps, this charmer occupies two floors of a palazzo from the 1700s. You sleep in chambers once occupied by the princes of the Borghese family. Modern amenities have been installed, of course.
- Hotel Bellettini (Florence; tel. 055-213561; www.hotelbellettini.com): If you're looking for a place with a Room with a View atmosphere, head for this Renaissance palazzo midway between the Duomo and the rail station. It's a family-run affair with an old-time atmosphere evoked by terra-cotta floors and stained-glass windows. The rooms are a bit plain but very comfortable.
- Palazzo Ravizza (Siena; tel. 0577-280462; www.palazzoravizza.it): Right in the heart of Siena, a short walk from Piazza del Campo, this elegant building was converted from a 19th-century palace. Every guest room has a few antiques along with ceiling frescoes.
- La Residenza (Venice; tel. 041-5285315; www.venicelaresidenza.com): In a 14th-century building that looks like a miniature Doge's Palace, this little hotel is on a residential square. You enter through an enormous salon filled with antiques, 300-year-old paintings, and some of the most marvelously preserved walls in Venice. The guest rooms aren't as grand, but they're comfortable and offer remarkably good value for pricey Venice.
- Hotel Menardi (Cortina d'Ampezzo; tel. 0436-2400; www.hotelmenardi.it): Built a century ago, this family-run Alpine inn is adorable, with wooden balconies and shutters and blazing fireplaces. Its rear windows open onto a flowery meadow and a view of the Dolomite peaks. The Menardi is a great buy in a high-priced resort town.
- Victoria Hotel (Turin; tel. 011-5611909; www.hotelvictoria-torino.com): One of Turin's best hotel buys, the Victoria has the distinct flavor of a British manor. You get touches of luxury and even a private garden.
- Hotel La Villarosa (Ischia; tel. 081-991316; www.hotellavillarosa.com): In a semitropical garden setting, this is the island's finest pensione. It's like a Mediterranean-style country villa with antiques and tiles adorning bright, airy rooms.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.