Why the Italian name, the Italianate look? Queen Marie de Médicis used to take the waters here in the 17th century: the fine garden still has a hot spring and the Loire flows regally past behind the huge old trees. Muriel, a flower-loving perfectionist (artificial blooms as well as fresh), has let loose her decorative flair on the interior. It is unmistakably yet adventurously French in its splash of colours, lush fabrics and fine details. Fine antiques and brass beds grace some rooms, while the suite is a great 1930s surprise with a super-smart bathroom. You are wonderfully well looked after in this elegant and stylish house.