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. 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.