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Hotel dei Commercianti, Bologna 

11 Via de' Pignattari
Italy 40124
Tel: 39 051 745 7511
view web site ›'s insider take:

Much of the original architecture is still intact in this 12th-century palazzo that was once Bologna's town hall. Restoration work exposed parts of the original medieval structure, including massive oak beams, but while there are playful hints at its Gothic origins (heraldic motifs, a suit of armor sitting on a divan in the lounge), the prevailing style is warm, classic modern, with earthy wall colors and retro cherrywood furniture. The 34 rooms are mostly small but bright and cheery, with parquet floors and tasteful printed linens. Some have views of Piazza Maggiore; others (including four third-floor doubles with terraces) face the side windows and Gothic buttresses of San Petronio, the city's cathedral. The breakfast buffet is served in an area of the house where Roman and early medieval artifacts were discovered during renovation. One of the four Bologna Art Hotels—along with the Corona d'Oro, Hotel Novecento, and Hotel dell'Orologio—the Commercianti has free Wi-Fi, a fleet of bicycles for guests' use, and its own garage, though parking will set you back around $40 a day.

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