Hotel Vittoria, Faenza ****
The four-star Hotel Vittoria in Faenza is a real delight. It is an elegant 16th-century palace which has been providing hospitality to travellers since the 1860s. The reception has marble columns, antique furniture and a frescoed ceiling. View hotel
Double rooms from €65
Hotel Polo Della Ceramica, Faenza ****
Faenza's four-star Hotel Polo Della Ceramica, which takes its name from area's ceramic tradition, does not disappoint. Mountains, cities and the sea are all within easy reach of this chic, modern hotel located in Faenza. View hotel
Double rooms from €39
Comfortable Faenza nestles in the shade of the Apennine foothills, an ancient and opulent city of 55,000 people, amid fields and grapevines that still in part follow the lines the Roman settlers laid out 2000 or more years ago. From here, the river valleys of the Samoggia and Lamone fan out, and stately 18th and 19th century homes sit guarding vast estates. Faenza itself, a town grown rich on agriculture, is probably best known to visitors for its fine majolica ceramic ware - an industry which itself dates back to around the birth of Christ.
And Faenza is pleasantly manageable, with most of its architectural delights compressed into the area around the linking main squares, the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza della Liberta. Must-sees in Faenza include the Town Hall, the Palazzo del Podesta and the Cathedral, a superb Renaissance church. See too the Goldsmith's Portico (1600s), the Clock Tower (a post-War reconstruction of the 17th century tower), the superb neoclassical Palazzo Milzetti, the 18th century Teatro Masini, and the Villa Case Grandi dei Ferniani, for a superb collection of 18th and 19th century Faenza ceramics.
A pleasant escape from town is the Carne Natural Park and Grotta Tanaccia Park (an example of Karstic limestone rock and cave landscape), with ravines, swallow holes, dolinas and surrounded by greenery. In town there is the Botanic Gardens, the neighbouring Natural Science Museum and the lovely Bucci Park.