Tumble down the hill into Florence, or stride into the Chianti countryside: the setting is beautiful. Welcome to Casa Barthel, a hilltop hamlet of small guest cottages, a couple of houses and three hectares of olive groves and vines, lovingly tended by the Barthels. Daniela and her daughter Elena are the life and soul of the place, and you are graciously, generously looked after. With a design studio in the city, this well-known family commission artisans to transform country antiques, and are the world’s biggest collectors of hand-painted tiles; each cottage has a few! The cottages also have their own garden spaces, and the grounds are open to all: tennis, table tennis, a small above-ground pool, a dining veranda, a barbecue and a wood oven. Modest country-style kitchens are colourful with tiles; vintage film posters brighten open-stone walls; natural materials blend with old terracotta, and the views are divine in every direction. Pisa, Lucca and the beach at Forte dei Marmi are temptingly close, Greve is 25km and the Certosa Monastery is at the foot of the road: don’t miss it.