Founded as a convent in 1222, allegedly by St. Francis of Assisi himself, the hotel has hosted Otto van Bismarck, Benito Mussolini, Ingrid Bergman, and Tennessee Williams, among other noted figures. One of the restaurants and its bar are in the 15th-century Saracen tower, perched on a rock over the sea, providing a view that spans from Capo dei Conca to Capo d'Orso. Coved ceilings, graceful arches, and marble columns are among the noteworthy design elements, along with
Flemish religious artwork, church and convent artifacts, antique furnishings, and mosaic flooring, all of which blend nearly seamlessly with modern comforts. The famed southern Romanesque cloisters and the beautiful baroque chapel form the heart of the hotel, which has been owned by the Barbaro family since 1822. Below the tower is a solarium and seawater pool. Ask for a room in the renovated wing, and try to get one with a balcony over Amalfi's bay. The food, alas, does not measure up.