A special find. The medieval walls of San Donato are tucked away behind an arch, while the Renaissance façade belies the large, modern interior. Enter the big hall with its fine wooden doors and stylish staircase, sense the history. The palazzo is a listed building and Maria is enthusiastic about all she has to offer. She was born here (in Room 3), and now lives in the apartment downstairs with her pet dog. Breakfast – in your bedroom, or at a huge table on white runners and china – includes fruits, cheeses, croissants, jams. You can even request a full English; the guest book says it is sensational. Each of the bedrooms has a classic Tuscan charm with family antiques and luscious fabrics. Luxurious bathrooms have mosaic tiles and huge white towels bearing the palazzo’s emblem; three have a jacuzzi. From some of the rooms you can just glimpse the towers of San Gimignano, from others, little gardens that guide the eye to the countryside beyond and its treasures. There’s a huge cherry tree in the small back garden. Drop your baggage off outside; car parks are a five-minute walk.