Straddling Tuscany and Umbria, this bucolic, sheep-shorn, oak and olive strewn estate is in the most spectacular of settings; as you gaze for miles over castles and hills let peace and well-being wash over you. Drive along the wide, fertile Niccole valley, climb the winding white road, up through chestnut trees and arrive at this old hay barn of indeterminate age. A simple one-storey structure, it has green-painted shutters and a long cool veranda for wining, dining and nodding off in the shade. Christine and Alfredo, utterly charming and still in love with the vast estate that they bought in 1974, live in privacy 60m away, completely in tune with nature and their surroundings. Inside are country antiques and whitewashed walls, old chestnut beams and polished terracotta, a cosy kitchen with a magnificent fireplace. Spacious, authentic bedrooms lie at either end, and there’s a spotless, light-filled bathroom with walk-in shower. Bask by the pool, then pootle down the track to the rustic restaurant where Christine cooks with wonderful produce, almost all of it their own. A real treat.