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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
Siena is a fascinating walled, hilltop city filled with a wealth of fabulous museums, intriguing squares, and breathtaking churches. If you want to stay within walking distance of the all the major sights and your budget precludes a splurge at the deluxe Grand Hotel Continental, the Palazzo Ravizza pensione makes an excellent choice. The brick exterior of the hotel looks quite plain but inside, the beauty of this once-grand 17th-century palace is immediately revealed. Belonging to the same family for 200 years, the mansion exudes the warmth of a home, with an intimate parlor, card room, music lounge, cozy bar, handsome ceiling frescos, old family portraits, and fresh flowers on polished antique tables. The Palazzo Ravizza is a simple hotel and some of the fabrics show a well-worn look, but overall it is well kept and appealing and for the price, it is an excellent choice. The individually decorated bedrooms vary in size, but all are furnished with antiques, down comforters, and have flat screen TVs. The choice rooms are those that overlook the back garden—I especially liked rooms 14 and 11. The most outstanding feature of the Ravizza is its splendid large garden. This is the heart of the hotel where guests can enjoy a cold drink at one of the tables on the terrace or relax on one of the benches strategically placed for capturing a sweeping view of the Tuscany hillside.