Extra virgin olive oil is pressed from the groves that clothe this ancient estate in rural Lucca. It doesn’t get much more Mediterranean than this: a hamlet of farmhouses immersed in gardens, all stone walls and steps, climbing vines and nodding roses. It’s a bucolic scene that could come straight from an easel – indeed, you may meet an artist or two, sketching in the shade of the big magnolia, finding inspiration in the hills around. Generations of the Bernardini family have lived and loved this place; we were equally enamoured. There’s B&B in the cottages – you skip across to the greenhouse for breakfast. Once farm workers’ haylofts, these cottages have been beautifully renovated in a palette of Tuscan colours. Original stonework, cotto floors and beams are softly illuminated. Kitchens are fitted. Bigger groups of self-caterers can stay in the large villas. All share a delightful pool and tennis court. The owner, Marcello, lives in the main villa; Monica runs the office. A taste of Italy you thought no longer existed: elegance, comfort and peace.