Between Siena and the sea, on a high grassy knoll with stupendous views, this handsome old farm is approached up a white road twisting steeply through chestnut woods. Its position is ideal for capturing solar energy and environmentalists Lucia and Emilio set out to make it zero-impact. Water is either spring or rain and the garden produces masses of organic vegetables – guests can take their pick. Recycling is high on the agenda so reclaimed beams, stone and other local materials were used in the renovation, and to build the large swimming pool. Some of the apartments are on the ground floor of the house (Val di Merse is the biggest with the best kitchen). On the first floor of the old hay barn is Il Fienile apartment. The style is simple, traditional and unfussy with white walls, modern floor tiles, some bare stone and open fires. Kind Lucia’s welcome basket is a treat; ask about oil and wine and helping with the haymaking or chestnut harvest. Great for children who can run around safely, for walkers and geologists fascinated by this Colline Metallifere area; its mines worked since Etruscan times.