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 and large villas 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. Generations of the Bernardini family have lived and loved this place; we were equally enamoured. Once farmworkers’ haylofts, the five cottages have been delightfully renovated for self-caterers (although you can skip across to the greenhouse for breakfast if you prefer B&B). Larger groups can rent the characterful villas, each with their own private pool. All has been decorated in a palette of Tuscan colours. Original stonework, cotto floors and beams are softly illuminated, kitchens are fitted. 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.