Renaissance luxury housed in a 17th century palazzo
City | History & culture
The Grand Hotel Continental is the only five star luxury hotel within the walls of Siena. Housed in Palazzo Gori Pannilini, it was commissioned in the 17th century by Pope Alexander VII for his niece Olimpia, during her marriage to the nobleman Giulio de’Gori. It’s a moment’s stroll down cobbled medieval lanes to the city’s famed medieval sights and jewellery box of delicatessens, restaurants and bars. You’ll also be well placed to explore Tuscany’s gentle rolling hills where Cypress trees point the way to some of Italy’s finest vineyards. Such favourites as Montepulciano, Lucca, San Gimignano and that Renaissance gem, Florence, are just an hour away.
Given the hotel’s illustrious history, you won’t be surprised by its grand architectural flourishes and the richness of its decorations. It’s a true paragon of Renaissance architecture, with opulent rooms host to original frescoes, priceless artworks and precious antiques. The hotel’s careful restoration has brought new light to it all while maintaining the original structure of the medieval tower. It’s an aesthetic that continues into the private rooms. Here, finishes of silk, porcelain, marble and travertine, first designed for the tastes of the 17th century aristocracy, delight while oversize windows frame views of Siena.
The hotel’s SaporDivino Restaurant is a triumph of Sienese gastronomy. The region’s rich history and unique geography has given rise to fine cuts from native breeds and a world-famous taste for olive oil – delights you’ll experience across menus curated by chef Luca Ciaffarafà. Driven by an appreciation of traditional Tuscan cooking, his dishes follow the seasons, served in an enchanting inner courtyard. It’s a setting both historic and sophisticated, all complemented by a selection of fine regional wines.
The wine cellar, found in the basement of the medieval tower, protects rows and rows of fine vintages with thick tuff walls. It’s here that professional sommeliers guide guests on tasting tours through some of the region’s finest varietals. Back in the rooms, four-poster beds and marble bathrooms co-exist harmoniously with satellite TVs and high-speed WiFi. However, given the hotel’s 17th century origins, you won’t find cutting-edge gyms and spas here. Instead, you’ll have all of Siena’s medieval beauty on your doorstep.
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