The Continental is the only five-star luxury hotel in the historical centre of Siena and a great option for being in the heart of the action during the Palio festivities. Housed in the 17th-century Palazzo Gori, the hotel has been sympathetically restored and gets the right balance between old and new. The facade of the hotel was designed by Carlo Fontana, the celebrated pupil of Bernini, and the palazzo was in fact a present from Pope Alexander VII to his niece Olimpia. Just a few minutes’ walk from the celebrated Piazza del Campo, you could not be in a better place to explore one of Italy’s finest towns.

Many of the bedrooms have frescoed ceilings, and all of them are a decent size and individually decorated with terracotta floors and original antiques. The tower suite has the most breathtaking 360-degree view of the city from its terrace, perfect for honeymooners but possibly a little too cosy for the price. Our favourite is the San Cristoforo suite; huge and covered from floor to ceiling with 15th-century frescoes.

The interior courtyard of the hotel is all modern and light. Glass elevators soar into the sky while guests and locals sip martinis during the aperitivo hour.