Once you’ve negotiated the steep and windy access drive, you are rewarded with sensational views over Santa Margherita. Roberto, a Ligurian farmer, trained at Pisa University and inherited the house from his grandfather in a dilapidated state; he’s made a few changes! He is a wonderful host and loves this place, deep in the country but within sight of the sea… enjoy breakfast or a glass of wine from the terrace and gaze down the coast: a treat. Each bedroom is colourful, spotless, different: white, ochre or saffron; all are simply furnished and decorated with dried flowers. Bright bedcovers dress grandfather’s beds, muslin curtains flutter at windows, old framed prints hang on the walls and many shower rooms are tiny. Apart from the hoot of the train and the faint hum of the traffic below, the only sound to break the peace is birdsong. Forget the hire car: Santa Margherita – a 15-minute walk downhill, a bumpy bus or taxi up – is a charming little town, with beach, fishing boats, shops, bars and restaurants. Paths lead to most of the villages and there are buses from the gate.