What a renovation! Computer programmer and whizz-at-cocktails Alessandro, and architect/designer Monica, alive with happiness and creativity, gave up lives in Turin for this dream: to renovate a village farmhouse in lovely Piedmont with glorious vineyard views. Casa Isabella is heaven. Doors and tiles have been reclaimed and walls painted in classic hues (ochre, slate blue, a dash of claret); elegant 1920s furnishings mix with unusual paintings and contemporary quirkery; lights have been inserted into stone stairs, bathrooms have exquisite hand-made mirrors, and coloured candles illuminate grandmother’s cutlery. Bedrooms are huge and two have balconies. Monica’s food is delicious, the breads and pastas homemade, the menus regional, the wines local; a sample of salami or a snack of crudités from the kitchen garden are yours whenever you like (do be aware this may not be the case out of season so check before you book). Heavenly breakfasts are served, when you want them, in the dining room or in the shade of a tree; in winter, logs smoulder. Books by the score, boules in the garden, a charmingly natural pool for swimmers, and a bustling market town 15 minutes down the road.