In the modest way of Renaissance popes, Pius II renamed his home town of Corsignano after himself and made it a model of 15thC urban planning. So it is appropriate that the modern tourist-pilgrim should find lodgings in this stylishly converted monastery. The entrance is located at the back of the austere white cloister that gives the hotel its name and on to which half the rooms look; the other half face away, over the serenely magnificent hills of Val d’Orcia. Many of the original features of the monks’ cells have been retained: frescoed, vaulted ceilings and tiled floors. The furniture, however, breaks with monkish antiquity and concentrates on modern comfort without sinning against the character of the building. Bathrooms, though hardly spacious, are fully equipped.The sitting rooms, with their old beamed ceilings, and the restaurant give on to a delightful terrace garden, where a pool has recently been built – a great bonus in a town. There could be no more agreeable place for an evening aperitif than its shady peace. A recent guest found the atmosphere, welcome and service fautless; ‘I wouldn’t mind moving in for life’ she says.