This is one of Italy's greatest hotels, so impressive that it evokes a national monument. Set in the town's oldest neighborhood, it originated in the 14th century as a Dominican monastery. Today it's surrounded by walled-in terraced gardens that are lit at night by flickering torches.

Inside you'll find massive and dignified areas (reception rooms, hideaway chapels, paneled salons) outfitted with museum-quality antiques that have been in place for at least 75 years, a genuinely impressive patina, and a physical setting that no one would dare modernize. The result is old-fashioned in the most appealing sense of the word. Guest rooms are located in either the old monastery part of the hotel, where furnishings are severely dignified and very comfortable, or in the more opulent "newer" wings, which evoke the Gilded Age. Views extend over the bougainvillea, palms, and citrus trees in the garden to the sea.