An easy drive from Milan or Turin, Castello Sannazzaro is as welcoming as warm sun on worn terracotta. Glimpse into the family chapel with its frescoes and ornate decoration; cross the moat where family dogs doze on grassy banks and enter a courtyard through a deep shady archway. Overlooked by gothic windows and a splendid crenellated tower, this is a cool and tempting place to laze with a drink or a book. Inside find opulent gothic, trompe l’oeil statues, lavishly decorated stairways, a ballroom where dukes and counts have waltzed to string quartets. Below you, ornate marble floors, above you – frescoed ceilings. You may sleep in a canopied bed and bathe in a roll-top bath. Some bedrooms have lovely curvy Italian iron beds and little white bathrooms tucked into odd corners. The suite has its own entrances so you can come and go as you please. Breakfast is a true Italian treat with a choice of delicious cakes and pastries. The family are discreet, but there if you want help finding all the best bits of this delightfully unspoilt region.